Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could not have taken different paths when Republican governors and legislative majorities were elected in 2010.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dramatically overhauled government union collective bargaining, saving the state and school districts hundreds of millions of dollars. He cut spending and taxes.
Pennsylvania, meanwhile has done none of that and continues to pay the price.
Now, Republicans – REPUBLICANS – are pondering a tax increase.
With eight days remaining to close a budget deficit of at least $1.4 billion, lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett are seeking a solution that could include a tax increase.
State tax collections are down $532 million, or 2 percent below estimate, as lawmakers try to close the deficit and approve a budget by the June 30 deadline.
Most other states, however, report sufficient revenue in a spring survey by the National Association of State Budget Officers, released this month.
Twenty-six states had higher than anticipated revenue, and 13 states were on target with estimates. Eleven states, including Pennsylvania, reported tax collections lower than estimates.
Budget Secretary Charles Zogby has opened the door to a possible tax increase — even a gas severance tax, which Corbett has opposed for years.
But Corbett has said the Legislature first must address “cost-drivers,” such as a state pension system with a $50 billion unfunded liability.