As Pennsylvania’s budget stalemate nears its fourth week, Gov. Tom Wolf has started pushing a different argument in the hopes of swaying public opinion.
Wolf is voicing concern about the state’s credit rating, which has been downgraded multiple times by rating agencies citing the state’s recurring budget gaps, growing pension obligations, and short-term funding fixes.
A lower credit rating means borrowing money costs more.
The governor has said he wants long-term solutions to the state’s cash-flow problem, not one-time funding patches.
“We’re paying a penalty of about a point for a bad credit score. That’s $170 million in extra interest that we’re paying every year,” Wolf said on On Radio PA’s “Ask the Governor” program. “That’s $170 million we could be spending on education.”
Wolf says he’s willing to hold out in the short-term if it means better interest rates for the state in the future.
Last month, Wolf vetoed a budget proposed by Republicans that included one-time funding sales.
The last state budget, approved by former Gov. Tom Corbett, also relied heavily on one-time funding.