News You Can Use - Mid-Year Budget Report
1/6/2012

News You Can Use

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Don’t miss the 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show that starts this Saturday, Jan. 7, and runs through Saturday, Jan. 14. It’s the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country that offers something for everyone, with more than 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibits.

Mid-Year Budget Report

Pennsylvania’s revenue figures for December came in at $141 million, 5.9 percent under state projections. Overall, for the first six months of the fiscal year, the Commonwealth is $486.8 million, or 4.0 percent under estimates.

These disappointing figures prompted Gov. Tom Corbett to make adjustments to our present spending plan to ensure that we maintain a balanced budget. Because the governor needed to react to current economic circumstances, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, Corbett announced a mid-year budgetary freeze of $146 million for the departments under his jurisdiction. Corbett also requested an additional $65 million in budgetary reserves from other independent state government entities. In total, the funds placed into budgetary reserves amounts to 0.8 percent of all state spending.

Visit my website to see details of the line items impacted by the Corbett budgetary freeze. Please keep these points in mind as you review this information:

The Legislature approves a maximum spending amount in the General Appropriations Act (commonly referred to as “the budget”).
Corbett has the authority to unilaterally place funds from any line item under his jurisdiction into budgetary reserve throughout the fiscal year.
The Legislature has the benefit of seeing a more comprehensive set of economic data when negotiating a final budget.  
In previous years, mid-year economic circumstances warranted budgetary freezes and then have gone on to improve to the point where the freeze was no longer necessary.  
•   Corbett has indicated that he will monitor the situation and may reconsider the freeze if the economy improves by year’s end.

It is my hope that this distressing economic news causes some of my colleagues to rethink their positions with regard to imposing a meaningful impact fee on the extraction of natural gas in Pennsylvania.

Review the spreadsheet that outlines the changes that were announced Wednesday.

Read the January 2011 Economic Brief.


2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show  

The 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show starts this weekend! The Harrisburg-based exhibition runs from this Saturday, Jan. 7, through Saturday, Jan 14. This year’s theme for the 2012 show is “From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate.” The Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country and promises to offer something for everyone, with more than 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibits. Admission is free, but visitors must pay $10 for parking.

Something new to the Farm Show this year are interactive maps and smartphone applications (apps) that are available to be downloaded to make visiting the Farm Show a little easier for visitors. For more information on this, and the rest of the 2012 Farm Show, visit my website and click on the “2012 PA Farm Show” button. Whether you go for the animal exhibits, the square dancing, the carriage racing or the food, you will walk away from the farm show with a greater appreciation of Pennsylvania’s agricultural producers.

If you visit the Farm Show, make sure you look for students from the Upper Bucks Technical School, as they will work and compete at the show the entire week.
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