For the third straight month, Pennsylvania's General Fund budget is in the red. Gov. Ed Rendell was warned in July about the deficits, but ignored advice from GOP lawmakers.
It's not looking any better for Gov. Ed Rendell's deficit budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
For the third month in a row, the state took in less than it spent.
The three-month deficit in Rendell's $28.3 billion budget now totals $281.4 million.
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue released its monthly revenue figures, showing Pennsylvania collected $2.3 billion in General Fund revenue in September, $163.8 million, or 6.5 percent, less than anticipated.
Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $5.8 billion, which is $281.4 million, or 4.7 percent, below estimate, Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf said in a written statement.
"September is the first significant collections month of the fiscal year, as quarterly corporation tax and personal income tax estimated payments were due this month," Wolf said. "Pennsylvania has weathered the economic storm better than other states, but it's clear that the uncertainties in the national economy are affecting our tax collections in Pennsylvania."
Earlier this month, Gov. Rendell ordered a hiring freeze and a ban on out-of-state travel and instructed most state agencies to reduce spending by 4.25 percent to save about $200 million.
But those savings won't even cover the $281.4 million running deficit and there are still nine more months to go in the fiscal year. Republican lawmakers want to re-open the $28.3 billion budget to find more places to cut.
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas