Governor’s Budget Proposal Aims to Tackle Tough Issues, Saylor Says
2/5/2013
HARRISBURG – For the third year in a row, Gov. Tom Corbett has presented a state spending plan today that funds all the state’s long-held budget priorities without raising taxes, Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) said today and issued the following statement:

“As with all budget proposals, the spending plan the governor put forth today is a map with which to begin the legislative process of crafting a budget that can pass both chambers of the General Assembly.

“With that said, I was pleased to hear the governor reaffirm the state’s commitment to education by increasing basic K-12 funding by over $90 million based on average daily attendance, which will benefit York County schools. He also made clear that any changes to the pension system would not affect the benefits of retired state employees in any way. While we may have to look at moving towards defined benefit plans for future employees, the pension benefits that have been earned under the current system would not be impacted in any way.

“Corbett also pushed for a comprehensive plan to address the state’s aging transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, prior to leaving office former Governor Ed Rendell looted the state’s transportation funds to service pet projects in Philadelphia at the expense of safe roads for the rest of the state. In the years since, PennDOT has had difficulty keeping our bridges and roads passable with the little funding that was left.

“Now, Pennsylvania is up against the wall. According to federal law, if 10 percent or more of our bridges are declared ‘structurally deficient’ in fiscal year 2014-15, Pennsylvania will lose significant federal transportation dollars. While Corbett set as a goal raising $1 billion for transportation, how we get there will involve much debate and even more proposals. But, getting that conversation started needed to happen, and he deserves credit for approaching a difficult issue that many others have avoided.

“On funding for health and human services, which are very important to York County residents, Corbett’s proposed budget would restore the funding for mental health that was missing from the 2012-13 budget, and then increase it by 4.1 percent. It increases funding for intellectual disabilities by 11 percent and proposes block grants to allow flexibility in delivering these services to best suit the circumstances on the ground in each county.

“We task our county commissioners with providing these services, but we tie their hands with overly burdensome regulations on how to use these funds. What might be right for Erie County isn’t necessarily the best way to meet the needs of York County. Block granting these funds will give our commissioners the flexibility needed to tailor these services in a way that best serves their residents.

“Finally, the governor said he wants the General Assembly to again attempt finding common ground on a plan to get Pennsylvania out of the liquor business. There is no reason the state should be competing with private business on any level, especially with regards to sales of spirits. I am cognizant of the many, many areas of business and employment that privatizing our system of state liquor stores has the potential to affect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act, it means we need to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of taking a holistic approach to this task.

“One of the main points to be made is that due to the difficult, but fiscally responsible, decisions we have made in the past two budgets, we begin this process with 2013-14 fiscal year revenues projected to increase by 1.5 percent over the prior fiscal year.

“It is much easier to criticize than it is to govern. Our most important task as representatives of the people is to ensure their hard-earned dollars are being spent in a responsible way, and in a way that improves their quality of life.

“In the coming days and weeks, I will study the details of the document very closely and there will be many hearings, alternative proposals and amendments offered before reaching a consensus on the numerous budget items as we reach consensus on an overall plan.”

House Majority Whip Stan Saylor
94th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Charles Lardner
717.260.6443
clardner@pahousegop.com
www.RepSaylor.com / www.Facebook.com/RepSaylor
www.Twitter.com/PAGOPWhip
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