Four weeks of budget hearings commence on Monday when the state Senate Appropriations Committee sits down with the Governor’s Budget Office, Independent Fiscal Office and State Treasury for three separate hearings in their North Office Building hearing room.
The $27.14-billion dollar no-tax increase budget has been generating plenty of buzz around the state capitol complex, and plenty of rhetoric too. “If you are on the low rung of the economic ladder in Pennsylvania, this governor has his foot on your neck,” exclaimed Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Vincent Hughes, who’s sure to scrutinize the public welfare spending plan.
Between mandatory increases in welfare spending and aggressive cost-containment measures, the Department of Public Welfare budget received a net $30-million dollar cut in proposed budget. “We need to make sure we take care of the neediest of citizens and reform is necessary to do that,” says Commonwealth Foundation President & CEO Matthew Brouillette, a supporter of the Corbett budget.
The Department of Public Welfare will get its first budget hearing before the Senate on February 28th. The House DPW Appropriations hearing is scheduled for March 7th.
Governor Tom Corbett continues to make appearances throughout the state to plug his budget plan. “This is a very difficult time, I understand that,” Corbett said during Thursday’s stop at a Lancaster County manufacturing facility. “But we have to start living within our means so that companies and the people can start saving and growing, and getting new jobs.”
National Federation of Independent Business state director Kevin Shivers tells us the small business community is buoyed by the stability that the Corbett administration brings to the state budget process. “It’s an important message that government is no longer going to spend at a prolific rate and then hand the tax bill to small employers and other taxpayers in the state.”