Report: Pa.’s on-time budget is part of a broader trend

Earlier this summer, lawmakers passed their first on-time budget in a number of years. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Earlier this summer, lawmakers passed their first on-time budget in a number of years. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

State lawmakers — particularly the ones running for office — have spent the last month touting the fact they passed a budget ahead of schedule after a decade of regular impasses.

Their success wasn’t unusual this year — nearly every state passed an on-time budget thanks to strong revenues.

Late budgets have become routine in a number of states since the 2008 recession.

Pennsylvania has long been one of the worst offenders — to the point where Moody’s Investors Service pointed out its on-time budget in the 2017-18 fiscal year as a particularly strong indicator of a positive national trend.

The credit rating agency notes, the commonwealth’s revenues were slow to recover in the decade after the housing market crash, and it’s saddled with unusually high pension obligations.

The modest budget lawmakers passed before the June 30 end of the fiscal year was largely possible because revenue in the first three quarters hovered nearly 7 percent above last year.

Fellow chronically-late state, Illinois, also managed to finish ahead of schedule. Only Massachusetts and South Carolina ultimately missed their deadlines.

However, Moody’s said states’ luck may change a little next year.

Expectations for revenue growth in 2019 aren’t as high, possibly because some 2019 income may have been brought forward to this year due to shifts in taxpayer behavior.

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