Governor Corbett’s budget; Winners and losers

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EXTERIOR VIEW OF PENNSYLVANIA STATE CAPITALLet the political games begin.  Governor Tom Corbett has released his 2013/2014 budget.  The amount of the spending plan is an increase from last year.  But as always, the devil is in the details.

For the first time in Governor Tom Corbett’s tenure, the budget proposal doesn’t have a bunch of groups crying foul.  The $28.4 billion spending plan is a nearly 2.4 percent increase from last year.  Many say, it’s a sign the economy is improving while others believe Corbett is now eyeing up reelection.

The Governor released his proposal before the General Assembly yesterday.  Here is a breakdown and a look at some of the winners and some of the losers.

The $28.4 billion proposal includes initiatives to privatize the state liquor system and increases funding for PA’s transportation and infrastructure through money raised in a change to the wholesale fuel tax.

The governor is also introducing sweeping public pension reform, giving public sector employees some tough decisions in the future.

Corbett’s plan also includes relatively flat funding for public education, ($90 million more or less than 2%) and higher education while increasing money for health and welfare programs.

Finally, no income or sales tax increases are planned.

“This is not the time to cling to old ideas and the status quo. Now is not the time to make small changes and expect big results,” said Governor Tom Corbett.

The taxpayers of Pennsylvania have picked up the tab with higher education costs, they have picked up the tab with failing roads, they are picking up the tab on his proposal for higher gas prices.  It’s bad for the people of Pennsylvania and good if you are a foreign corporation,” said Representative Mike Sturla, (D) Lancaster County.

The Governor’s proposal calls for about 900 state jobs to be eliminated, including 400 layoffs. These layoffs will mostly be seen in the state’s general services, the Department of Health and the Department of Public Welfare.

Of course, this plan is simply a road map for the next five months.  The General Assembly and the Governor will work together through hearings and fact finding missions to get a deal done.  The deadline is July 1st.

For a full look at the budget, click on the 2013/2014 Governor’s Proposed Budget,