Finally the election results…Well, sort of. This week in the capitol was relatively calm given that the General Assembly was not in session due to the Primary Election finally being held on Tuesday. But, the election results are far from final in several cases. This year’s elections were conducted in unchartered territory with the initial delay from April to June and then the allowance to do mail-in voting. The PA Department of State reported that nearly 1 million Pennsylvanians took advantage of the mail-in voting process. Additionally, Governor Wolf extended the time to count these votes for up to another week due to several counties still being in the yellow reopening phase. As a result, the final election tabulations are pending in about a dozen counties with many races in the “too close to call” category. Several incumbents are fighting for their political life right now and are facing upsets in their primary re-election efforts. Those include PA Senators Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) and Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) as well as PA Representatives Michael Puskaric (R-Allegheny), Maria Donatucci (D-Philadelphia), Adam Ravenstahl (D-Allegheny), and James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia). Reps. Peter Schweyer (D-Lehigh), Mary Isaacson (D-Philadelphia), and Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) all have razor thin leads at this time.
May revenue numbers are out. PA Secretary of Revenue Dan Hassell provided a look at the May revenue collections and they were consistent with what we’ve been reporting. The overall General Fund budget was short by about 17% in May bringing the year-to-date deficit to about $2.6 billion. As for the Motor License Fund, May collections were down $59.4 million bringing the year-to-date deficit to about $180 million. These numbers are in line with expectations following COVID-19, but the future impact on the highway construction program remains in dispute. PennDOT earlier reported a $400 million decline in both the 2020 and 2021 letting programs. The Independent Fiscal Office, however, provided a different picture. Go here to view our story from last week on the IFO report. With the economy opening back up, we expect these deficits to contract slightly. APC will continue to monitor and report as the budget revenue numbers continue to pour in.
House Transportation Committee set to meet today. The House Transportation Committee is having a hearing today on the response of the Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Secretary Gramian and CEO Compton will be in the hot seat again answering questions regarding the agency’s reopening plans and funding situation. APC will monitor this hearing and report more to you in next week’s edition of This Week in the Capitol.