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McGinnis Votes “No” on 2017-18 Budget Spending Bill
HARRISBURG – Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair) today cast a no vote on the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017-18, which passed in the House of Representative by a count of 173-27. House Bill 218 now goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for consideration.

McGinnis issued the following statement regarding the spending bill, which totals $32 billion:

“Today, I cast a ‘NAY’ vote on the General Appropriations budget bill, which is House Bill 218 as amended by the Senate. While the fatal flaw of insufficient pension funding remains from the original bill, the amended version seems worse in at least three ways.

“First, we are projecting spending increases in this budget without established revenues to cover those increases. As was the case last year, the ‘revenue question’ is to be answered later. It does seem backward to commit to spending first and then ascertaining revenue availability second. That approach did not work out very well this past year.

“Second, the original version of House Bill 218 projected decreases for the General Assembly expenses, an approach that amounted to leading by example on fiscal discipline. However, the amended bill increases spending for the General Assembly by 3.7 percent, which is larger than the rate of increase for the overall budget.

“Third, in addition to the de facto borrowing from the state pension funds, it seems there is agreement that the Commonwealth will be borrowing from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to cover this year’s general appropriations. While this is a more honest means of borrowing than through underfunding pensions, it still amounts to increasing debt to ‘balance’ a budget. For myself, and I’m sure most of my constituents, that is a contradiction in terms and certainly bad policy.”

The House is expected to return next week to finalize the technical aspects of the budget, as well as finalize the sources of necessary revenues.

Representative John McGinnis
79th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
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