After Gov. Tom Wolf’s line-item veto of the approved $30.3 billion budget for 2015 and 2016, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry commented on the urgency of the commonwealth’s pension crisis this week in Harrisburg.
“Pennsylvania’s unfunded pension liability represents the greatest threat to the state’s long-term fiscal health and has already led to several credit downgrades,” Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr said.
Barr suggested that obligatory pension law drains dollars from the classrooms and public programs that the state so desperately needs to preserve.
Additionally, Barr commented, the administration must consider alternative revenue sources -- such as the wine and liquor business -- as a realistic solution. Responding to the governor’s recent action, the chamber suggested that liquor reform would be an obvious win-win solution, simultaneously offering a wider freedom of choice to Pennsylvania consumers and generating revenue to bridge the financial deficit.
“This budget stalemate has clearly brought challenges to many in the commonwealth, and we appreciate the governor’s willingness to approve some state funding as well as his recent decision to allow the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program to continue operating,” Barr said. “As negotiations move forward, we urge lawmakers to support a responsible budget that addresses the commonwealth’s largest cost drivers, promotes economic growth and protects Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.”