Feb. 28, 2022

HARRISBURG – Today the House Appropriations Committee held its fourth day of budget hearings. The committee heard from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and PennDOT:

Once again, Gov. Tom Wolf’s own secretaries can’t explain his phony outyear projections:

When asked why the FY2022-23 budget proposal includes 41 new positions at DEP, funded for half a year’s salaries, but then shows no increase in the next year to account for a full year of salaries, DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell couldn’t justify it. This once again shows that the governor’s budget proposal is built upon phony numbers.

DEP Secretary doesn’t know how much Russian oil and gas is currently being imported in Pennsylvania.

When asked about Russian imports, Sec. McDonnell suggested that the solution is to “electrify the fleet.”  Seriously! This of was after he conceded that Gov. Tom Wolf’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is forcing Pennsylvania power generation offline.

Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette) summarized energy policy failures of the Biden and Wolf administrations and missing sanctions on the importation of Russian energy. He also warns of the threat imposed by RGGI.  Watch his remarks here.

Permit delays cost Pennsylvanians' jobs

Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) outlined how permitting delays often result in investments and jobs locating in other states. McDonnell cited improvements but acknowledged more needs to be done, and welcomed further conversations with the Legislature. Watch the exchange here.

The governor’s vaccine cash giveaway cost PennDOT $6.5 million.

While the governor’s office continues to spin that there is no cost to providing five additional vacation days to Commonwealth employees, and paying out for unused time, his cabinet secretaries continue to provide figures.

The governor’s budget proposes to further reduce the amount of Motor License Fund dollars going to support State Police operations to match federal infrastructure dollars.

·         In 2016, legislative Republicans initiated a phase-down of the amount of money from the Motor License Fund that goes to support State Police operations.  The Fiscal Code requires that amount to be reduced by 4% each year until it reaches $500 million.  The amount in the current year is $673.5 million.

·         The governor’s budget proposes to reduce the amount to $500 million this year, freeing up $386 million over the next five years to meet the 20% match requirement in the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.

·         PennDOT estimates, however, that $930 million is needed over a five-year period, leaving a $544 million shortfall.  The governor’s budget doesn’t provide any recommendation for filling that gap.

Rep. Stan Saylor, Chairman
House Appropriations Committee
Pennsylvania House of Representatives