PA S&P rating drops amid budget issues

Pa. Senate to Take Up House Revenue Proposal For Budget

Wolf said Tuesday morning that he believes that leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities are on board with getting a deal done and signed by October 1.

It also reflects the weakening of Pennsylvania's liquidity position, notably the delay or non-payment of scheduled expenditures for the first time in the commonwealth's history, according to S&P.

In addition, House Republicans want to move about $400 million in so-called lapsed funds, or funds not spent in prior budgets, from various agencies.

Other smaller transfers also are part of the budget plan, including $20 million from legislative reserve accounts and $50 million from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. "If an agreement has not progressed by next week, I will be forced to take further steps to manage this situation".

House and Senate leaders seem to agree any revenue package can rely on at least $200 million in one-time license fees from what they call "gaming".

"The decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade Pennsylvania's credit rating should come as no surprise". The action caused a lot of dramatic words from state leaders and many calls to settle the budget, but no signs of compromise. Their letter said further borrowing "creates an economic "moral hazard" that effectively increases the long-term risks to the commonwealth's finances" and that they were therefore "disinclined to support additional lending" to the state's General Fund.

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The credit rating agency Standard and Poor's lowered its rating on Wednesday to an "A+'".

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said inter-chamber negotiations are starting this week, and will probably last through next week.

"No doubt some Republican legislators and some advocates will say that the real cause of the budget deficit is overspending".

"We would still end up with a deficit at the end of the year", Corman said.

Democrats have accused anti-tax House Republicans for the downgrade, while House Republicans blame S&P and state officers who "refuse to pay bills".

"Unfortunately for the citizens of the state, the sword has fallen today and we will all pay the price for the fundamentally irresponsible and dishonest approach to state budgeting taken by Speaker Turzai and his followers".

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