Economic Development Chief Testifies to Consequences of Pennsylvania’s Lockdown, Refuses to Apologize

At a Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday, the panel’s GOP majority grilled the state’s chief economic-development official on the damage inflicted by COVID-related business restrictions.

In March 17, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf (D) responded to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus by ordering the shuttering of all businesses he deemed “nonessential.” The commonwealth phased out most of the closures that summer, though capacity restrictions on restaurants and other gathering places continued into 2021. Republicans in the General Assembly attempted to end the shutdowns but did not have the two-thirds supermajority needed to override the governor.

Read More

Pennsylvania Fiscal Office Expects Lower Revenues Than Governor

On Tuesday, at the first legislative hearing on Pennsylvania’s next budget, the Wolf administration and the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) offered divergent near-term revenue projections.

Governor Tom Wolf (D) proposed a Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget last week that would total $43.7 billion, 16.6 percent greater than the current fiscal year’s spending allotment. The plan’s feasibility (without a tax increase) will partly depend on whether the general-fund revenues anticipated by the governor’s Revenue Secretary, C. Daniel Hassell, come to fruition. 

Read More

COVID Restrictions’ Impact on Pennsylvania Still Felt, Forecasted to Persist

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) on Monday issued a report on the state’s economy indicating COVID-era restrictions continue to make a negative impact.

The IFO composed the report to inform lawmakers as they begin a series of state budget hearings this week. The agency observes that the Keystone State’s labor-force-participation rate is at its lowest in 37 years and forecasts that jobs numbers won’t return to their December-2019 apex for at least another three years.

Read More