The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

News

July 1, 2014

State budget highlights

HARRISBURG — Highlights of the Republican-crafted spending plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year that started Tuesday. The main appropriations bill is on Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk after passing the Senate and the House on Monday. Some major revenue and spending items remained unclear because companion budget legislation had not passed yet. Comparisons are to the budget approved for the 2013-14 fiscal year:

THE BIG PICTURE

– Increases spending by $723 million, or 2.5 percent, to $29.1 billion over the current year’s approved budget. Counting an additional $220 million that it would add to the books of the 2013-14 fiscal year that ended Monday, the entire package is a $943 million increase, or about 3.3 percent.

– Generates $29.6 billion through taxes, fees and other revenue sources, an increase of $1 billion, or 3.5 percent.

TAXES/REVENUES

– Contains no new taxes.

– Continues the phase out of the capital stock and franchise tax to 0.45 mills on Jan. 1 from 0.67 mills currently.

– Continues an increase in the cap of the net operating loss deduction on Jan. 1 to $5 million or 30 percent of income, whichever is greater.

– Reduces the period in which unclaimed property must be held by institutions and businesses from five years to three, generating $150 million in one-time revenue.

– Calls for the extraction of natural gas from beneath state-owned parks and forests through drilling on private, adjacent lands that does not require any surface impact on public lands, generating $95 million in immediate revenue and additional future royalties.

– Transfers more than $700 million from off-budget lottery sales, legal settlement money paid by tobacco companies and revenue from oil and gas drilling leases on state lands.

– Relies on $625 million in excess funds left over unused from prior appropriations.

– Postpones the payment of $392 million to providers of medical care and mental health services under Medicaid.

– Transfers $100 million from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund and $100 million from the Small Business First Fund.

– Transfers $125 million from fees paid by the state’s licensed casino owners.

– Transfers $30 million from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund.

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