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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

State Budget Crisis May Hit Home

County officials are watching with interest and concern as the state prepares to release its latest set of revenue receipts and projections. Correspondence recently sent to the Potter County Board of Commissioners and Potter County Human Services from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans paints a disturbing picture.

Many state-mandated services provided by the county are accompanied by state funding covering 90 percent or more of the operating expenses. Any reduction in state reimbursement could have a major impact on the county, particularly in the delivery of programs by Potter County Human Services.

Excerpts of Rep. Evans correspondence follow:

Rep. Evans

“Incoming revenue during the month of November continued to reflect a bleak picture for the Commonwealth budget. We are facing serious times and are in the process of analyzing every Commonwealth fund and itemizing every cost containment option to close the gap.

“On Tuesday, Dec. 9, the Budget Secretary will present the mid-year budget briefing. The story that will be told is sure to be one of caution and the need for extreme financial prudence. However, I want to emphasize that we cannot understand with much certainty, the extent of our budget crisis until we see March and April revenues. We are operating in an economic environment in which economists are having difficulty projecting the national economic outlook and we depend on those forecasts to predict our own revenue intake.”

Rep. Evans provided the following update on the General Fund revenue picture through November.

  • Total General Fund revenue came in $93.1 million underestimate in November. This shortfall results in a year-to-date revenue deficit of $657.9 million, 6.8% below estimate for the year so far.
  • The General Fund shortfall is largely attributed to shortfalls in Corporation, Sales Tax, Personal Income Tax, and Non-tax revenue.
  • Corporation Tax collections in November were below estimate by $28.6 million, bringing the year-to-date total to $149.5 million under projections.
  • Sales Tax collections came in $24.7 million below estimate. For the year, the sales tax is off $115.8 million from the forecast.
  • Personal Income Tax collections were $4.2 million underestimate for November. The year-to-date collections are $76.6 short of estimate.
  • Non-Tax Revenue collections were $26.7 million below the estimate. This reflects losses realized by Commonwealth investments in a very turbulent market. Year-to-date, total non-tax revenues are $253.3 million underestimate.

Rep. Evans said he welcomes comments or suggestions by email at devans@hacd.net.

Potter County Today

26 comments :

Solomon's words for the wise said...

Maybe if the state government had not decided to exempt wind turbines and gas wells from taxation in this state, there would be a little more money to pay the bills. The natural gas and wind turbine companies are some of the richest and best capitalized businesses in the state. They obviously need a free ride while the rest of us wonder where we will get the money to pay next year's taxes. Put up a souvenir stand along the road and you will pay more taxes than a $3 million gas well or a wind farm. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this problem. Other states have. Marcellus shale wells have been reported to be producing 4 million cubic ft. of natural gas per well in some areas of PA.

Anonymous said...

We as tax payers saw this coming!

Why can't the paid politicians see past the tip of their noses?

Businesses in the entire state of PA have down sized, cut back and closed their doors...and they did not see a short fall in tax revenue coming?

Guess they just got their answer for the COLA now didn't they? But I am certain they will all receive and TAKE that 2.8% increase in their earnings and to hell with the hard working tax payers in the Commonwealth.

Anonymous said...

but our tax dollars can bail out BOSCOV'S and put new sod on the field at Blair Park in Altoona.
and look Philadelphia got increases in their funding, where was fast eddie from?? hum seems like he came from philly.
it is time the people stand up and straighten things out by voting these idiots out of office and let them know that is happening unless they get thier s%$# together and
put the monies where they belong

Anonymous said...

this country is so pathetically screwed up I don't know what it would take to straighten it out.
we can bail out fat cat thieves while the hard working people that built this country get shoved behind the door go to any nursing home and look at the funding cuts for these people it is a shame these people built this country, fought for it, and look what they get in return they have to sign everything over that they own or sell it just to get care, go to an alzhimers unit and look, and check out the funding, but Boscov's can get money from the housing fund, our elected officials get a raise that alot of working people would consider an income, judges get 185,000+ per year scholl superintendants geting 75 - 125,000
plus and the working people pay the bill and stuggle to get by
and live payday to payday.
HERE IS A THOUGHT !!!!!
make the politicians give their big raises to the funding for human services and other worthy causes, instead of bailing out the fat cats that stole from us give the working people that are paying the bill a good stimulus check
50 - 100,000 per family and watch this economy turn around quick.
we need to limit terms in office and run wall street out into the east river and bury it. it is time we got back to some good old grassroots mentality and save this countrey it is up to the people, our elected officials have showed us that they don't want to save anything but their big raises and bigger retirements. we have the power and priveledge to turn this country around and it comes in our right to VOTE

Anonymous said...

Has the government ever been concerned about the little, low income people? I mean even the ones making less than $150,000 too. It has and always will be the brand names and their money that will be taken care of. Wake up and stop the bitch'n, lifes to short to think of what will never be.

Anonymous said...

guess it's time to start taxing internet sales & online auctions (ie E-Bay)

Anonymous said...

OH GEESH... NOT EBAY...

Anonymous said...

Solomon's said,
Maybe if the state government had not decided to exempt wind turbines and gas wells from taxation in this state, there would be a little more money to pay the bills. The natural gas and wind turbine companies are some of the richest and best capitalized businesses in the state?

But,
The county has made it clear neither industry is welcome here and that they intend to make it very difficult for either to be here. If we don't want them here why would we be worried about any form of revenue from either one of them. I think it was referred to as "GREED" money and compromising health and safety.

Some don't want their money spent in our motels, hotels, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, or anywhere else either. Yet, they want state funding for tourism promotion during a recession.

Are you saying you feel its okay for other county's to comprimise the health and safety of their residents as long as the state collects tax money that would benefit our county?

Anonymous said...

"Are you saying you feel its okay for other county's to comprimise the health and safety of their residents as long as the state collects tax money that would benefit our county?"

Good point!

sgs fights to keep them out of our county... but maybe we could tax the hell out of them both and forgo our health and safety?!

Solomon's words for the wise said...

I believe the county has made it clear that if the ugly windmills come to Potter County, they will need to be regulated so that they don't affect health and safety of the residents. From what I have read, the county welcomes gas drilling, as long as they don't pollute our streams and our underground water supplies. The money spent for wages and leases, and royalties is a welcome infusion into a stagnant economy. From what I see, the gas companies have been very responsible in their work here, and have minimized the impact on the land. In New York, gas drillers are delayed from drilling the Marcellus shale until new regulations are promulgated to protect the land. NY taxes wind farms and gas wells. Many local entities are quite prosperous because of that tax. If these companies paid real estate taxes in Pennsylvania like residents and other businesses have to, it would make make it easier for those who do not benefit directly from wind mills and gas wells to compromise health and safety to some extent.
As for tourism, it is a clean green industry, they come, they spend, they enjoy. We don't have to educate their children, they require a minimum of county and local services, and the money they leave here trickles down to most everyone in the county in one way or another. The agencies have been working hard to make tourism happen here, lets work with them, and make it happen. Take an idea and throw it out there for all to consider. My wife says Denton Hill Ski Area would be a great place for a water park in the summertime.
What ideas do you have to make Potter County, or Route 6 a tourist destination?

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting that all tourists ride green horses and that our county residents should make their life goal and the goals of their children to have careers in part time minimum wage jobs waiting on tourists?

I guess I cannot help with that one, but am interested in seeing how many of those who are promoting it will be making a career of it (tourism) after its here.

I thought the goal was keeping our county's pristine beauty. What suggestions do you have for all those who will be retiring someday and have maintained parcels of land over the years that linked together have provided so many with the pristine beauty so often spoken of.

Anonymous said...

"it would make make it easier for those who do not benefit directly from wind mills and gas wells to compromise health and safety to some extent."

Sorry, I do not agree with you on this one.
There seems to be no compromise with most of the "anti" people.

Anonymous said...

"The agencies have been working hard to make tourism happen here, lets work with them, and make it happen"

To the handful of naysayers, come to the Dec 9th meeting at the Ed Council at 6pm. Come with an open mind, Sit, look, listen and ask questions.

This meeting should be packed with every Potter County Busuness person and those wanting to capitalize on the Tourism Trends.

The Trend is your Friend and there is no need to reinvent the wheel

One only has to look at Naturequest just over the hill on Rt6, to see a progressive tourism based business

http://www.naturequestadventures.com/index.php

Gas prices are coming down. Gulf Oil CEO Joe Petrowski said on Wednesday that the price of oil could sink to $20 per barrel, and there is a chance gasoline prices could drop as low as $1 per gallon by early next year.

People will not give up vacationing with their family. They are valuing their time with family more and more. Offer them something new and interesting, a chance to see their children grow and experience something different and they will come.

Help them achieve their goals and you will achieve yours.

All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination, Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth. - NH

Anonymous said...

One of the anonymous posters above writes, "The county has made it clear neither industry (wind or gas/oil) is welcome here and that they intend to make it very difficult for either to be here."

What is your source of information for that comment?

Anonymous said...

If I come to the meeting and don't like what I'm hearing...can i get a refund on all of my tax money that has been wasted on promoting tourism?

men of genius said...

I think it may be coming from:

"In reference to the "state model ordinance," I beleive it would be instructive for one to drill down into the methodology and scientific research that formed the basis for those recommendations, as well as the objectivity and depth of knowledge among those who developed it. Many local governments have recognized its shortcomings and resolved to act more responsibly."
"Additionally, I fully support the waiver clauses that would allow neighbors who do not see the need for protection contained in the county's ordinance to simply sign a document that nullifies the setbacks or sound limits."
"Through that provision, you merely have to make your case with your neighbor, rather than trying to persuade a government agency to alter responsibly drafted regulations that are designed to protect everyone's neighbors."

That was taken from a letter that 1st time commissioner Paul Heimel wrote to a "third generation farmer in Ulysses township." Someone who probably owns some of that pristine beauty photographed and displayed at the Annex building last weekend as well as someone who has provided much land for tourists to roam for many many years.

Being appointed and supported by the other two commissioners as the wind energy researcher for this county what more is there to say.

If you want an industry in this county you need to get permission from your neighbor. There is danger in any industry and I guess Paul feels we need to regulate industry responsibly to protect everyone's neighbors. It would be irresponsible to believe that any county official would discriminate one industry from another for any reason putting the county in danger of law suits.

Still waiting for Paul to release the supporting evidence that backs up this letter and his proposals up, but when he does it should answer any and all questions pertaining to the dangers of any industry.

Anonymous said...

What agencies?

County agencies?

Are you not listening to your county commissioners?
The sound from toursits cannot be tolerated by all county residents. Just one tourist's vehicle pulling into a business could exceed the noise level
acceptable by the county putting anyone within a certain distance for any lenght of time at risk.

This has nothing to do with how anyone feels about tourism. It is about what has been proposed and will soon be passed as acceptable for business or industry in the county.

Before I came to a meeting I would want to make sure that I wasn't being mislead in any way and before any more tax dollars were spent in the county promoting tourism I would want to see what tourism fits within the new proposed sound regs.

Seems a lot of tax dollars are being spent before the county has had a chance to research the health and safety effects of tourism.
There is no sense in promting something you cannot have and there is no sense in holding meetings until the commissioner's scientific evidence comes out.

Anonymous said...

" If I come to the meeting and don't like what I'm hearing..."


You...not like something?...

How could that be, Mr Sunshine?

I'm sure they would be elated to refund you with interest upon your final departure..

Anonymous said...

"Still waiting for Paul to release the supporting evidence that backs up this letter and his proposals up, but when he does it should answer any and all questions pertaining to the dangers of any industry."

Doubt this will happen before Dec. 18th at 11 a.m.! Guess we tax payers will just have to take his word for it.

men of genius said...

Nature Quest Adventures is Tioga county. We don't want an education on what Tioga county has done with their money we want to know what Potter County did with theirs.

PC opted for The Food Matrix.
Where is it?

After Dec 18, 11:00 there probably won't be any future spending of the tax payers dollars. The state is not going to provide tax dollars to promote something the county has outlawed and the tax payers are not going to tolerate that type of wasteful spending.

Your darn right that families vacation. But they are not going to take their children to a place where they are to be seen and not heard.

If there has been some kind of double standard going on I doubt it will continue once the ordinance is on record. Thats like "the proof is on the package"

Anonymous said...

Mr Sprout, Come to the PA Wilds meeting on tues and find out what can be done with tourism.

and bring Mrs Green Beans.....

Anonymous said...

"As for tourism, it is a clean green industry, they come, they spend, they enjoy. We don't have to educate their children, they require a minimum of county and local services, and the money they leave here trickles down to most everyone in the county in one way or another"....

"The agencies have been working hard to make tourism happen here, lets work with them, and make it happen. Take an idea and throw it out there for all to consider."....

"and the money they leave here trickles down to most everyone in the county"....

EXCEPT the large farming land owners that allow these tourists to USE their PRIVATE land for their enjoyment.

Then the toursits that have used the land for FREE for snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, fishing, hiking and so on can go to the local corner diner and PAY & TIP for their meal. Can go to the local gas station and PAY to fill up and buy a soda. Can go to the local drug store and PAY for epson salt to soak the tired muscles. And the list goes on.

I would be very very surprised if the local hard working farmers continue to allow THEIR private land to be used for FREE.

Especially after the piles of shit they have eaten over the industry they would like to FINALLY place on THEIR land and make some money for themselves!

NOW...what about the GREED, what about the MONEY FOR ME!

Anonymous said...

"I would be very very surprised if the local hard working farmers continue to allow THEIR private land to be used for FREE."

It's not tourist's fault the "farmers" didn't want to or couldn't figure out how to make a buck of the people they allowed to use their land.

post away baby!

Anonymous said...

The farmers from Potter County are not like the free loaders that need county offices to unload their crafts and speeches or the State Parks to grab onto as a way of life and salvation.

You would have no life if you weren't using our county offices, state parks, and tax payers money.

Anonymous said...

The problem with tourism is that when the tourists do come here, they act like they are the only reason that most of us live here and that we should bow down to their every desire because they are spending their "money" here. I, for one, am fed up with dealing with "tourists" and their "better than thou" attitudes.

Anonymous said...

"It's not tourist's fault the "farmers" didn't want to or couldn't figure out how to make a buck of the people they allowed to use their land."

"post away baby!"

Don't worry lil'man I will post away!

IF these farmers did charge people I am sure their neighbors would bitch about that too!

"Money for me and greed" would be thrown in their faces I am sure.