I would like to commend the 38 state house members that presented a unified voice in opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision.
Even without this expansion, Medicaid costs are unsustainable. Over the last decade, program spending increased more than 80 percent, nearly twice as much as personal income. Medicaid now consumes 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s total state operating budget and is projected to grow for years to come. Continue reading
Upon the successful passage of the state budget, legislators have returned to their districts for summer recess. At this time, Keystone Liberty will review and highlight the many legislative achievements and stalemates of this session before adjourning for the summer.
Building upon the fiscal responsibility of last year’s budget, the General Assembly passed the 2012-13 budget. The Governor approved the budget which went into effect July 1st. Unlike the previous administration, Governor Corbett managed to deliver two consecutive balanced budgets on time. The spending plan demonstrates a commitment to taxpayers, free enterprise, students and the state’s most needy.
In February, Governor Corbett delivered his second budgetary address. In similar fashion, the Governor revealed another plan to balance the public ledger without imposing tax increases on the existing sluggish economy.
Since the inception of the new budget plan, the Treasury has reported higher than anticipated revenues. Consequently, the Senate recently passed a proposal that restores funding to basic and higher education and several other social health programs. While the Senate proposal is balanced, the increased spending relies on additional transfers from last year’s balance and the rainy day fund.
For lawmakers who are committed to providing funding and relief for public education, there is a public policy alternative which would free up another $500 million. Expanding Pennsylvania’s successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) is a feasible legislative proposal that can salvage public school budgets while avoiding tax hikes and increasing educational opportunities for tens of thousands of students.
Democratic party leaders within the General Assembly continue to send a message insinuating that the Governor’s budget is an assault on working families. House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (Allegheny) took the floor early in the budgeting process to voice his stern disapproval of the plan for a balanced budget. In his critique, Rep. Dermody called the proposal “year two of the Corbett property tax hike agenda” and further condemned the budget as an “unprecedented attack on public education.” Such fiery floor rhetoric fails to foster an honest debate concerning the state of education funding in the Commonwealth.