Pennsylvania Budget

A pedestrian walks by the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, June 28, 2019. 

(The Center Square) – A new law that went into effect this month in Pennsylvania expands the state’s dynamic scoring process to scrutinize proposals for their fiscal impact on residents.

The provision gives the Independent Fiscal Office the power to use this method, formerly reserved for budget bills only, to consider the “probable behavioral response” of taxpayers and businesses for any proposal that comes with a price tag of at least $50 million, upon lawmaker request.

Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, said he’s sponsored this legislation in multiple sessions with a goal to “strengthen our ability to monitor state spending and bring it under control.”

“Dynamic scoring will allow the IFO to examine how spending proposals could impact future budgets and our government’s ability to remain solvent,” he said. “I am concerned about the course our Commonwealth is on and believe we need to adopt policies now that will enable us to more effectively predict future expenditures and help to ensure a brighter outlook for our children and grandchildren.”

Lawmakers amended the dynamic scoring language into the Administrative Code that passed as part of the $40.8 billion budget in late June.

Gov. Tom Wolf didn’t sign the bill because it repealed a regulation that expanded overtime eligibility for more than 80,000 workers. It became law 10 days later by default. He did not comment on the bill’s dynamic scoring provision.

“I have been working for several years to pass this legislation and have repeatedly predicted what will happen if we do not bring state spending under control – and soon,” Ryan said. “This is what we need, and I am frankly surprised it has taken this long.”

Staff Reporter

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania's General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.