Rendell promises job cuts

January 22, 2009 10:50:18 AM PST
Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday the state's estimated budget gap had worsened by about $300 million just since last week and that he expects to lay off some state government workers. "There will be some layoffs and there will be universal pain," Rendell said at a Capitol news conference. He said he did not want to hear whining about the tough choices ahead.

The number of layoffs has not been determined, but they will occur in the fiscal year that begins July 1, he said.

The governor said the state's estimated budget deficit for the current fiscal year had grown to $2.3 billion, up from the $2 billion figure he announced during a Farm Show speech last week and from $1.6 billion last month.

The more pessimistic outlook stems from the latest sales tax and personal income tax revenue figures, Rendell said.

"It's just a sign of the times," he said.

Rendell asked the Legislature to draw down its reserve fund by $175 million to help plug the hole and said federal stimulus money also should help.

New taxes on smokeless tobacco and Marcellus Shale natural gas royalties may be ahead, but Rendell vowed that the budget address he will make next month will not include a broad-based tax increase.

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