Pa. budget chief offers bleak assessment

    Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby says with tax revenues down and costs going up, tax increases aren’t on the table yet–but cuts to just about everything else are all but certain.

     

    Zogby said his office expects a $500 million shortfall by the end of the current fiscal year. But he calls that estimate rather optimistic.

    That means in the next month, he’ll have a plan for Gov. Tom Corbett to enact a budgetary freeze. As to whether the Corbett administration is estimating large shortfalls to build support for a conservative budget, Zogby said he doesn’t see the logic.

    “As if there’s some sort of perverse, uh, what do I want to say, perverse joy that we get out of shortfalls and cuts. These are, you know, these are very difficult and painful things,” Zogby said. “I wish I could stand up here and say that we have a robust economy.”

    Instead, Zogby said, he’s looking at projections that revenues will be lower than expected for corporate taxes and personal income taxes.

    The next fiscal year starting in July will be dogged by higher pension costs and debt payments. Those are two big contributing factors to what’s expected to be an even larger shortfall than the one anticipated this fiscal year.

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