The Wolf administration has started making concerted cuts in an effort to help get Pennsylvania out of its fiscal hole.
The state faces a projected $600 million revenue shortfall this fiscal year, on top of a multibillion-dollar structural deficit.
The leaders of the GOP majorities in the House and Senate have made their positions on the state’s financial deficits clear — they’re opposed to passing any tax increases.
Instead, they favor restructuring; for instance, merging state agencies and eliminating redundant spending.
So far the governor is taking similar steps.
“You know, leading into the budget obviously we know we have a pretty significant structural budget deficit, and this is part of the governor’s effort to reduce costs and streamline government across the board,” said JJ Abbott, a spokesman for the governor.
In one recent memo, Wolf announced he’s looking to combine various functions in the executive branch— particularly in administrative technology and human resources.
“This, along with some other measures that we’ve done, are part of a larger effort that will continue,” Abbott said.
That’s in an addition to an announcement several weeks ago that the state is axing thousands of unfilled state jobs, and a more recent, surprising revelation that the Department of Corrections will shut down two of the state’s prisons.
Some lawmakers are skeptical that such cuts will be enough to balance the severely lopsided budget.
State Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, minority chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said recently that passing a budget without new funding might be “disastrous.”