Budgeting Controversy

“If you are on the low rung of the economic ladder in Pennsylvania, this governor has his foot on your neck,” said Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.

On February 7, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett proposed his budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which will begin on July 1. The 2012-13 budget will include major cuts for state-funded agencies, as well as for educational institutions.

Public schools of higher education have already taken a hard hit with last year’s decrease in state funding. They will face an even more severe decrease this year.

State-related universities–including Temple, Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh–will see a 30 percent decrease in state funding, amounting to an approximately $250 million dollar cutback. State-owned schools will face a 20 percent decrease in state funding.

Not only is this proposed budget going to affect higher education, but it will also take a large toll on the poor, elderly and disabled.

Corbett’s budget proposal aims to cut 60,000 cash recipients from the General Assistance program and to revise the eligibility requirements for the Assistance program in hopes of saving approximately $319 million dollars.

“The budget I bring you is built to transform the public welfare system—not to eliminate it, but to right-size it,” Corbett said on February 7.

The 2012-13 fiscal budget focused on restructuring state funding. It did not discuss the deteriorating highways and bridges across the state. Instead, Corbett promises to discuss this and other issues at a later date.


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