Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
Gov. Corbett has proposed a $28.4 billion budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. It includes plans to generate revenue for transportation infrastructure and implement pension reforms, but makes no decision on the possibility of expanding Medicaid.
The spending blueprint would begin removing the cap on the wholesale gas tax paid by gas stations and simultaneously reducing the tax on the price of gas at the pump by 17 percent – a 12 cent to 10 cent reduction. That, along with other redirected funds from things like motor license fees and vehicle fines, is expected to yield $5.3 billion over a five-year period for transportation projects. The state presently faces an annual transportation funding deficit of $3.5 billion.
The proposed budget incorporates the governor’s plans to privatize the state liquor stores and hand over the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private company. Those plans come with expectations of additional money for schools and seniors.
Pension-wise, the governor wants to enroll all future state employees in a 401 (k) –style defined contribution plan. He’s calling for reducing the unearned benefits of current state employees. He also wants to lower the scheduled payments the state needs to make on its pension debt. His administration expects $175 million in savings from these reforms.
Public schools funding would increase under the governor’s plan by $90 million. The plan also calls for $46 million more for programs serving people with disabilities.
Corbett is calling for reducing the Corporate Net Income tax and completing the elimination of another tax on businesses, the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.
The spending plan doesn’t come down on either side of the issue of expanding Medicaid. The governor’s Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said the administration is still on the fence about it and in talks with the federal government. But in his budget address to the Legislature, Corbett indicated he has decided: "At this time, without serious reforms, it would be financially unsustainable for the taxpayers, and I cannot recommend a dramatic Medicaid expansion," said Corbett.
This post has been updated.
Published in State House Sound Bitesback to top
Support for WITF is provided by:
Support for witf is provided by: