Why Can’t Corbett Seem To Anything Right? — Gov. Tom Corbett told a joint session of the state House and Senate, today, Feb. 7, that there will be no change in spending from the current $27.1 billion budget. He said there will be no increases to the sales or income tax rates, and no tax on natural gas drilling.
Of course, the Democrats are going to be upset with the lack of a drilling tax, and they are going to go positively nuts about his proposed cuts to education: 20 percent to $330.2 million for the 14 state-owned universites; 4 percent to $221.9 million to community colleges; 28 percent to $163.5 million for Penn State University (that one should be cut $163.5 million more); 30 percent to $95.2 million for Pitt; 30 percent to $97. 9 million to Temple and the elimination of $100 million in accountability grants to public schools
What is surprising is that some of the better Republicans aren’t that thrilled with it either.
State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129) notes the governor was dead silent on the matter of property tax reform.
“Pennsylvania homeowners are struggling right now under the archaic and
burdensome property tax system,” Cox said. “They are at risk of losing
their homes. I am disappointed the governor did not address this issue
with a bold approach to completely replace the school property tax
system. This shows that those of us who want to replace the school
property tax have our work cut out for us.”
Cox did give kudos to the governor for his no-tax-hike pledge, and I’ll join him on that so at least Corbett might have done one thing right.
Other goals presented by Corbett include:
— a $319 million decrease from the proposed elimination of cash payments for about 60,000 participants in the General Assistance program and new eligibility rules, including minimum work requirements, for about 30,000 General Assistance recipients who receive Medicaid benefits.
— a 20-percent cut to $263.2 million for PennDOT which reflects cutss in federal funding.
— the elimination of state money for
rail freight assistance.
— a 4 percent cut to $260.8 million for the Legislature.
— an 8 percent cut to $126.6 million for the Department of Environmental Protection
Cox noted that the governor’s budget speech simply begins the process of adopting a state budget, and that the House and Senate will hold public hearings in the upcoming weeks regarding what to keep in or throw out.
“The governor has presented his proposal,” Cox said. “As legislators, we will now take some time to review the proposal and make alterations or improvements where necessary. What we are seeing today is far from a final product.”
And one further point of which the residents of this state should be aware: Pennsylvania spends far more than $27.1 billion annually.
Rogers Howard, who is challenging Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi in the GOP primary in the 9th District notes that when payments on bonds are included the outlay is actually about $65 billion.