The credit rating agency Standard and Poor's lowered its rating on Pennsylvania's debt, citing the state's stubborn post-recession deficit and its history of late budgets, as well as Standard and Poor's belief that the pattern could continue.
"The downgrade largely reflects the commonwealth's chronic structural imbalance dating back almost a decade, a history of late budget adoption and our opinion that this pattern could continue", said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Carol Spain.
House Republicans-who have held out alone against plans that would raise taxes-pushed back, calling S&P analysts "a small group of unknown people" who are making their rating decision based on "interviews with a governor and press releases from the state's fiscal officers". Tell your state senator to support the House plan to restore fiscal sanity to Pennsylvania.
When Tom Wolf became governor, he proposed an aggressive and fair tax policy to close the deficit. And then, the House passed a plan that not only raided special funds, but included other phantom revenues from liquor and gaming legislation that has not been, and most likely will not be enacted, phantom revenues from unspecified lapsed funds, and phantom revenues from a proposal that was rejected by the courts past year. Even when a bipartisan majority in the Senate passed a tax code bill with recurring revenues that would remove the sword, Speaker Turzai refused to let the House consider it.
"No doubt some Republican legislators and some advocates will say that the real cause of the budget deficit is overspending".More news: USA regulator says hackers stole market-sensitive data about companies
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"We look at structural balance", she said.
Pennsylvania has been without an operational budget since June, when the Republicans adopted a bipartisan spending plan of almost $32.0 billion.
In a two-page letter sent September 12 to lawmakers and Wolf, state Treasurer Joseph M. Torsella and Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale, both Democrats, cited the state's imminent inability to pay its bills.
House leaders suggested the downgrade could help bring lawmakers together to address major cost drivers in the state budget.
"Meanwhile, the House Republicans were leading the way as they uncovered billions - yes, with a 'B"! - in extra funds.