Compiled by Meghan Schiller, Contributing Writer
A legislative leaders meeting was held late last night, which the PA Independent reported might include a “handshake agreement” among legislators. Details will likely emerge in the coming hours.
Significant cuts for schools and the need to protect taxpayers are two of the main concerns discussed. Whether or not a reasonable Marcellus shale tax will be approved by Corbett is still up in the air.
Here are the biggest budget headlines from the past day.
Philly Inquirer: Poor targeted in PA budget: DPW replaces schools on chopping block with $471 million cut proposed
House Republicans have a new plan to restore the close to $600 million that Corbett’s budget will cut from eduction. Their plan: hack $471 million from the budget for the Department of Public Welfare (aka the poor).
According to the article, these proposed cuts have slid under the rug due to all the chatter about education, but these cuts will hurt citizens even more.
“The cuts would amount to ending Medicaid coverage for 100,000 Pennsylvanians,” says Sharon Ward, executive director of the liberal-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
Video of Rep Dan Frankel on need to protect taxpayers in face on Marcellus shale drilling.
Twitter was busy with #pabudget updates- one of them being this youtube video of Rep Dan Frankel. In the video, posted by the PA House Democratic Caucus, Frankel openly supports forcing the drilling industry to pay to help protect our environment.
“I live in the city of Pittsburgh. The city of Pittsburgh doesn’t have local drilling. But the fact of the matter is we have local impacts. Our air and our water are absolutely at risk even though we don’t have drilling there,” says Frankel.
Video of Rep Frank Dermody on the need for a reasonable Marcellus shale tax.
Democratic Leader Frank Dermody also supports ensuring that natural gas drilling won’t harm our environment.
In the youtube clip he says,“We need a reasonable Marcellus shale tax to raise the revenues so that DEP, DCNR, all the groups, all the agencies that are responsible for working together with us to protect our land, our water, and our air have the resources they need to do their job.”
Patriot News: Pa. state government workers rally outside Governor’s Residence for a fair contract, state budget
State workers marched in protest outside of the Governor’s Harrisburg residence chanting “We’re fired up. Ready to go.”
The members of the Service Employees International Union Local 668 want the new budget to include revenue sources (such as tax on natural gas drillers, smokeless tobacco and cigars) to avoid cuts to social services. They also want out-of-state companies to pay corporate net income tax for their dealings in PA.
PA Independent: ‘No-tax’ pledge is key component of state budget debate
Politicians, including Gov. Corbett, signed a pledge promising not to vote for tax increases or new taxes.
“I don’t believe we have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem,” said state Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland. “The pledge is a helpful way to show that there is another way that doesn’t burden people with additional taxes.”
But, Corbett is taking flack for signing the pledge. Those in opposition of the pledge say its a way to control taxes and spending.
“I think (Corbett’s) put us in a terrible situation,” said George. “He’s already fixed himself to a position where we legislators are going to be held hostage for some of his actions.”
Note: an earlier version had shuffled some of these descriptions. Our apologies.
Let’s hope that legislative leaders are also inclined to reverse the elimination of two agriculture budget items, agriculture research and the Crop Insurance Premium Subsidy program. Both help farmers stay in business as vital risk management tools yet both line items were zeroed out both by Governor Corbett and the House-passed Budget bill.