Reaction to Corbett's Budget is Swift and Strong
Response to Governor Tom Corbett’s 2012-2013 budget proposal is coming in from all corners of Pennsylvania today. The budget contains good news from some special interest groups and not-so-good news for others. And of course there are the usual partisan responses.
Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn
"Over the past two years, Gov. Tom Corbett's budgets have devastated families in Pennsylvania. His budgets have passed the buck to local communities that have been forced to raise property taxes. His budgets have forced layoffs at schools. His budgets have increased tuition and cut programs at colleges. His budgets have forced cuts to county health services that provide assistance to the elderly and those with disabilities. This budget is simply more of the same misplaced priorities that have made things more difficult for Pennsylvania.”
Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason
“Governor Corbett is ready to reinvest in Pennsylvania’s future with a bold budget proposal that is pro-jobs, pro-education, and pro-growth. By practicing fiscal restraint over the past two years, Governor Corbett has cleaned up the financial mess left by the previous administration and has gotten our Commonwealth on the path towards a healthy economic future. Over the next year, we will be able to again invest a record amount in the future of our children and to agriculture, public safety and the core functions of government that have been reformed to cut waste and fraud.”
State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny)
“I am encouraged by the governor’s interest in providing $90 million more state dollars to our public schools. I believe this renewed commitment is a healthy sign that he now recognizes that his previous two budgets shortchanged schools by $900 million and spurred steep property tax hikes across the state. While I am pleased that the governor is trying to make amends and wants to more adequately fund schools, I am disappointed that he is proposing that some of the additional funding be contingent upon legislative approval of his liquor privatization and pension funding schemes. The education of our children is too important to be used as a bargaining chip.”
State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny)
“While I am pleased that after largely ignoring the state’s biggest problems and challenges for the past two years our governor is finally weighing in on issues such as transportation funding, pension reform and school funding. However, I am disappointed that his budget proposal continues to treat economic development and job creation as secondary issues. Getting people back to work and stoking our economy should be the core budget issue.”
State Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny)
“Governor Corbett’s latest budget proposal reflects the same extreme ideology that we have seen from this administration for the last two budgets. The Governor’s two years in office have been marked by severe cuts to programs that benefit Pennsylvania’s hard working families, children and seniors. As we continue to grapple with high unemployment and slow job growth, we must address the issues facing all Pennsylvanians, particularly issues facing our most vulnerable citizens. We must invest in areas such as early childhood education, STEM programs, and school safety, but tying these programs to the sale of state assets is the wrong approach.”
State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny)
“I have numerous concerns for our Commonwealth if the policy proposals in this year’s Corbett budget are adopted. I am particularly worried about the dangerous implications of privatizing the Wine and Spirits Stores and linking temporary windfall dollars to expand education spending. Governor Corbett’s proposal sits tenuously on a house of cards. The passage of his grandiose programmatic proposals rests on the assumption that complicated issues which have not been introduced in the Legislature such as privatizing liquor sales, privatizing the lottery, pension reductions, and new education programs will be resolved prior to the budget deadline. This approach is presumptuous and unrealistic.”
Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Dennis Yablonsky
“[W]e applaud Governor Corbett for his leadership today in beginning an important process that is critical to economic growth across the Commonwealth. Governor Corbett has expressed his clear commitment to comprehensive transportation funding. He recognizes the vital importance of the entire transportation network – roads, bridges, transit, highways, ports, railroads and airports – in moving goods to market and people to work, school and other daily activities.”
Editor note: Yablonsky served on the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission and as Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development under the Rendell administration.
Pennsylvania Health Access Network Director Antoinette Kraus
“Governor Corbett has the chance to bring coverage and health care security for hundreds of thousands of working Moms and Dads, all while stimulating our local economy, creating local jobs and saving Pennsylvania taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars currently spent each year to treat the uninsured emergency rooms. This is an opportunity the Commonwealth cannot afford to pass up. We urge our legislators make sure Pennsylvania doesn't leave these new funds, the jobs they would create and the secure coverage they would provide, on the table."
National Physician’s Alliance Dr. Cheryl Bettigole
“If Pennsylvania fails to accept the opportunity to expand Medicaid, thousands of working people in this state will remain unable to access health insurance and the care they need. As a physician, I not only think it is critical that my patients get care when they are sick but also care that will help them prevent illness.”
Editor note: Bettigole and Kraus were responding to the governor’s decision to not accept federal funding to support Medicaid expansion through the federal Affordable Care Act.
National Federation of Independent Business Executive Director Kevin Shivers
“Governor Corbett deserves a lot of credit. He's been determined to manage Pennsylvania's budget like any family would manage their own. That has enabled him to propose bold ideas this year to create jobs and protect Pennsylvania's most vulnerable. Governors in many other states this year continue to bury their job creators and working families under higher taxes to cover billions of dollars in deficits. Governor Corbett, meanwhile, has worked hard to keep the state from spending beyond its means.”
Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) Executive Director Robert Maiden
"The conservation districts are extremely grateful for the state funding we have received to date, but we need to maintain our funding across the state, to meet the constantly increasing demands for our services," noted Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) Executive Director Robert Maiden. "Declines for districts equates to less staff, less education and outreach, and minimal projects being put in to practice. Agriculture is not only the number one economic driver in Pennsylvania, but it also feeds families, putting food on the table for residents across this commonwealth."
Editor note: Maiden was responding to the budget’s elimination of funding for the state's 66 conservation districts through the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.