Poll: What is the most important issue facing Pennsylvania in 2017?

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Pennsylvania lawmakers are preparing to tackle another contentious budget deficit.

The Independent Fiscal Office, which provides revenue projections for use in the state budget process, released their findings yesterday that addressed a set of challenges Pennsylvanians face. A combination of a declining workforce, an increasing aging population, and rising healthcare costs leads to different visions as to how spending gaps should be balanced and allocations should be made.

Looming in the background are other issues that range from funding solutions to the state’s opioid crisis to working toward fully privatizing the state’s liquor system. Next budget season is Wolf’s third attempt to finalize a budget that he desires, while also working with a Republican supermajority. Previous back-and-forth decisions have lead to a band-aid effect, based on the IFO’s findings.

In its research, the IFO points out, “recently enacted revenue enhancements and expenditure policies had a meaningful impact on the FY 2016-17 budget, the impact diminishes over time; therefore, the long-term fiscal outlook is largely unchanged from last year.”

Wolf has consistently pitched higher taxes to pay for public spending line items, for example, workers’ salaries and benefits, public education, and programs for people with disabilities. Republicans have communicated they believe there are other revenue streams that can be tapped to generate money to pay for the same items.

What is the most important issue facing Pennsylvania in 2017?