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Most states replenish their rainy day funds. Pennsylvania? Not so much

Brian Bowling
| Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, 12:09 p.m.

Half the states in the country had enough money in their rainy day funds at the end of the 2016 fiscal year to fund their operations for at least 19 days, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Pennsylvania had enough to fund operations for a couple of hours, the report said.

Most states drained their reserves during the Great Recession to keep operating until their revenues rebounded. By June 2016, 26 of those states had rebuilt their rainy day funds to levels equal to or higher than they had before the recession.

Pennsylvania had 32 days worth of reserves in 2000, but in two years had drained them down to a little less than three days worth of reserves. The state gradually built up its funds after that until 2008, when it emptied its reserves and had a $1.3 billion deficit.

By 2011, it climbed back up to a 10-day reserve but has since steadily drained the reserves and ended 2016 with enough to operate the state for about a tenth of a day. This year, it's in negative territory again, according to the study.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, bbowling@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribBrian.

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