Lawmakers propose tapping special accounts to help fund budget

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

State Rep. Paul Schemel, whose district includes Greencastle and Antrim Township, is part of a group of House Republicans that unveiled a plan to bridge the $2-plus billion deficit in the state’s $32 billion budget on Tuesday.

After seven weeks of work to find an alternative to the Senate’s plan to raise taxes on every Pennsylvanian, they released what they call the Taxpayers’ Budget to fund the 2017-18 budget without the need to borrow money or increase taxes.

In addition to Schemel, the group that worked on the Taxpayers’ Budget is comprised of Reps. Dan Moul (Adams), Keith Gillespie (York), Dawn Keefer (York/Cumberland), Seth Grove (York), Will Tallman, (Adams/Cumberland), Cris Dush (Jefferson/Indiana), Kristin Phillips-Hill (York), Frank Ryan (Lebanon), Dave Zimmerman (Lancaster), Joe Emrick (Northampton), Kate Klunk (York), Ryan Mackenzie (Lehigh/Berks), Mike Tobash (Schuylkill/Dauphin), Stephen Bloom (Cumberland) and Eric Nelson (Westmoreland).

In a press release, the group released the following statement:

“The Taxpayers’ Budget we presented today is the result of a comprehensive examination of the state budget, during which we discovered taxpayer dollars stowed away and sitting idle in special government accounts with high, unused balances. Some of the 218 accounts we inspected are dormant and have not been drawn down in recent years. Tapping these accounts is not a new concept.

“Each revenue source was thoroughly vetted through the new Treasury Transparency Portal, House Appropriations Committee staff, House legal staff and the governor’s own budget documents. The conclusion of this long process is that there appears to be sufficient resources in the special accounts to balance this year’s budget.

“The outcome of our work is a plan that would fund the budget while protecting taxpayers. This plan does not include borrowing money, nor would it raise taxes on natural gas, electric and telephone bills, which would hurt every taxpayer in the state.”

The Taxpayers’ Budget will be evaluated by the entire House and potentially voted on when the House returns to session next week.

For more information, go to www.pahousegop.com.