Corbett’s budget proposal is a house of cards

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A house of cards is a fragile structure that can easily come crashing down if one new card is added in a bad location, or if the wrong card is removed from the supporting structure. That’s exactly what Gov. Tom Corbett has stacked up for Pennsylvania in his 2014-2015 state budget.

The poor structure of the governor’s proposal begins with his revenue estimates. The Independent Fiscal Office projects an overly optimistic $300 million in revenue from taxes through June 30, 2015. A new report shows lower-than-expected tax collections over the last three months. Even worse, the governor touted a “tavern games” proposal and relied on its revenue to bolster his budget. To date, less than a dozen applications for tavern games have been submitted. Between low collections and little interest in tavern games, a fiscal disaster awaits.

Most offensive to me is the governor’s assumed $75 million in revenue from drilling under and around our state parks and forests. These locations are recreation and tourism destinations that help to add to our economy and have already suffered damage from drilling sites. We must protect what remains of our wilderness, maintain the state park and forest gas drilling moratorium and find better ways to balance Pennsylvania’s budget.

With Appropriations Committee hearings in both chambers concluded, members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate must lay a solid foundation for progress and depart from Mr. Corbett’s budget, which would surely collapse to the detriment of all Pennsylvanians.

Highland Park

The writer, a Democrat, represents the 38th Senatorial District and is minority vice chair of the state Senate Appropriations Committee.

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