Republicans challenge Rendell on budget and State Police funding

    Pennsylvania Senate Republicans say Governor Rendell has been exaggerating the impact of budget cuts for the past month. They held a hearing Tuesday to poke holes in Rendell’s claims that a reduction in state police funding would affect public safety.

    Pennsylvania Senate Republicans say Governor Rendell has been exaggerating the impact of budget cuts for the past month. They held a hearing Tuesday to poke holes in Rendell’s claims that a reduction in State Police funding would affect public safety.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090630sdpolice.mp3]

    The budget passed by the Republican-controlled Senate last month would trim the State Police’s general fund allocations by 16 million dollars, compared to Governor Rendell’s proposal.

    Lieutenant Colonel John Kurtz told members of the Law and Justice Committee that could trigger a total revenue loss of 59 million dollars, since the State Police relies on a funding formula stipulating 27 percent of its revenue comes from the general fund, while the rest is provided by motor vehicle licensing money.

    Kurtz testified that would mean 800 state police layoffs, but seemed to back off that claim under questioning from Republican Committee Chair John Rafferty.

    Rafferty: As of today, June 30 2009, has the governor ordered the Pennsylvania State Police to begin preparations for furlough of 800 troopers? He has not. Has he ordered you to begin the furlough of any troopers? He has not.

    The motor vehicle licensing/general fund ratio can be adjusted with legislative approval, so the additional revenue reductions wouldn’t be automatic.

    Kurtz’s estimate of 800 layoffs is based off the assumption the formula would remain the same.

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