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What to watch for in Governor Corbett's budget adress

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 4, 2014 3:46 AM
Tom Corbett

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Corbett is slated to deliver his budget proposal and speech to the state Legislature for the 2014-15 fiscal year later this morning.

You can listen or watch the address at witf.org.

Here are eight issues to watch:

 

1. SPENDING: Corbett will propose a $29.4 billion budget, a 3.6 percent increase over this year's approved budget and, if enacted, the biggest increase in spending under his administration. He is projecting higher costs for education, pensions, social services and health care for the poor. 

2. TAXES: Corbett would hold the line on income and sales taxes, while seeking to lower broad-based business taxes for the fourth straight year. For the first time, the state will be projected to break $30 billion in overall tax and revenue collections, an increase of 4 percent and the biggest such increase since the economy began recovering from the recession.

3. Revenue: Corbett will need money to support spending in an important election year. There is a small universe of ideas to scrape up new cash infusions for the state. Which ones will he embrace?

4. MEDICAID: Corbett will be counting on savings from a proposal he plans to submit to the federal government to pare back benefits for healthy adults enrolled in Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor and disabled. The calculations and assumptions for how the state's Medicaid rolls will expand will be closely watched.

5. PENSIONS: For the second straight year, Corbett will propose reductions in pension benefits for future public employees. He also will propose reining in next year's pension costs by postponing more of the state's immediate obligations.

6. EDUCATION: Corbett will propose a $340 million block grant program for schools. He also will propose $20 million in new money for special education, the first increase of his administration.

7. JOBS: The central theme of Corbett's governorship is improving the business climate in Pennsylvania. How will he advance that?

8. SOCIAL AND HUMAN SERVICES: Corbett will propose a range of increases to programs for child care, county child services and programs for the elderly and disabled.

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