Appropriations weighs PA senate budget

    By: Scott Gilbert

    The measure calls for nearly one-point-seven billion dollars less in spending than Governor Rendell’s blueprint.

    By: Scott Gilbert
    scott_gilbert@witf.org

    The Pennsylvania budget proposal passed by the Republican-led Senate is going under the microscope in the House Appropriations Committee.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090521sgbudg1.mp3]

    The measure calls for nearly one-point-seven billion dollars less in spending than Governor Rendell’s blueprint. Matt Brouillette, president and C-E-O of the Commonwealth Foundation, testified in favor of the bill. He says it’s important to remember that the state has no money of its own to spend. Rather, only what it takes through taxes and amasses in debt.

    Brouillette: Therefore, every single dollar that you tax, borrow, and spend is a dollar that cannot be spent, saved, or invested by the people who actually earned it.

    But Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, says the cuts in the Senate bill would go too far — by eliminating programs that reach the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

    Ward: Headstart Supplemental Funds are cut in half. Preventive health screenings for newborns are reduced. And on-site job training for individuals with significant disabilities are cut.

    Ward says the budget should dip into the rainy day fund and health care provider retention account.

    She also notes that 33 other states have either raised taxes or are considering such proposals.

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