Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says an additional spending freeze and cuts in some grants are necessary as the "economic picture continues to worsen." The word came as the governor updated his 2009-2010 spending plan about half way through the fiscal year. He expects the measures to turn a projected $96 million deficit into a $124 million surplus. Rendell says job cuts are not part of the latest round of reductions, “We believe we can accomplish this without further layoffs. It'll be mostly from attrition and not filling those spots and letting those spots remain unfilled and by cuts to some of the grant programs." The governor adds that some of the latest cuts may not be necessary if the economy improves in the coming months, as some economists expect will happen. "Let me emphasize that the spending freeze is just that -- it's a spending freeze. We're putting this money into budgetary reserve, essentially, and if positive growth returns, we may not have to make all of these cuts. We may be able to roll back some of the freezes that we're undertaking today," says Rendell. He says his projections do assume that lawmakers will pass a measure to legalize table games -- a move that's expected to generate $250 million dollars this fiscal year. Rendell also touted a Pew study that found Pennsylvania's fiscal condition to be among the top ten in the nation.