Pennsylvania made a $22 million deposit into its rainy-day fund, the first such move in nearly a decade, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.
The deposit, he said, exceeds some pre-budget estimates that the fund would receive only $14 million, Wolf said Thursday at the state capitol in Harrisburg. “While some states are borrowing from their funds or making no contributions, Pennsylvania is making a $22 million deposit.”
Wolf expects the move to resonate with bond rating agencies, which have downgraded the commonwealth frequently over the past three years, citing budget imbalance, insufficient reserves and high legacy costs, including unfunded pension liability.
Moody’s Investors Service rates Pennsylvania’s general obligation bonds Aa3 with a stable outlook. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings assign ratings of A-plus and AA-minus with outlooks that are stable and negative, respectively.
The governor on June 22 signed a $32.7 billion budget package for fiscal 2019, marking his first on-time spending plan since taking office in January 2015.
Wolf, a Democrat seeking re-election, touted the savings initiatives his administration has undertaken, including launching Go-Time – the Governor’s Office of Transparency, Innovation, Management and Efficiency.
He said the commonwealth realized $100 million in annual savings through procurement efficiencies and by introducing cost-saving measures such as contract renewal reductions and live, reverse auctions for commonwealth contracts.
Other measures, according to Wolf, include downsizing facilities, consolidating agencies and merging human resources and Internet technology across all state agencies, resulting in total recurring savings of $2.2 billion.