CBS Philly reported Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to work in Harrisburg after a break for the state primary elections to find the state budget as a top issue for the coming few months. The legislature could be in for an easier than usual budgeting process, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Gov. Tom Corbett is open to restoring funding to areas that were cut under his initial budget presentation in February. Since education and social services account for 80 percent of the state's budget, those two areas could see the proposed cuts softened.
Why is the governor open to softening the budget cuts?
The Philadelphia Daily News reveals state tax revenues came around $100 million higher than expected. The Keystone State is expecting revenues at the end of June to be nearly $400 million higher than expected, meaning the state will have the cash to restore funding to several programs and interests.
Are plans underway to restore funding to colleges?
The Associated Press indicates state Senate Republicans have advanced a plan in committee that would increase higher education spending by $245 million and $73 million for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education. Senate Republicans worked closely with the governor's office in moving to soften the cuts, which could signal a fast and efficient budgeting process for education.
Will there be a tax increase to help out the budget process?
As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, Gov. Corbett will not move to raise taxes just to restore funding cuts to education and social services. The report indicates if additional revenues are nonexistent, then the governor is prepared to take a hard line on education spending.
What cuts did Gov. Corbett announce for higher education?
According to the PA Independent, the governor wanted a 20 percent reduction in funding to the 14 universities under the State System of Higher Education and a 30 percent reduction in funding to three state-related universities, Pitt, Penn State, and Temple.
When is the budget due to be finalized?
The Philadelphia Daily News reports lawmakers hope to have a new deal in place by June 15; however, the report is quick to note that the fiscal year for Pennsylvania ends on June 30, which means any time before that will keep the economics of government spending in place.
Jason Gallagher is a longtime Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.