Friday, March 25, 2011

PathWays PA Budget Alert

STATE BUDGET UPDATE

Notes from Day of Reckoning Budget Briefing

Below are some notes taken during a recent budget briefing put together from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition. To see all the notes, please follow us on Twitter @PathWaysPolicy.
  • Tax revenue is coming in above projections. Pennsylvania could end the year with a surplus possibly as high as $78 mil. Despite this surplus, revenue is still below pre-recession levels.
  • The Governor’s proposal is relying on Tobacco Fund Settlement to help balance the budget by moving revenue into the General Fund. Without the Settlement money overall spending would have decreased by 4.5%.
  • The budget proposal includes the elimination of 1550 positions. Many of the positions are already vacant.
  • In the proposal, basic education sees a large cut. For southeastern Pennsylvania this means a cut of $1.4 million for the Southeast Delaware County School District, a $2.8 million cut for the Upper Darby School District, and a $1.9 million cut for the William Penn School District.
  • Since the FY 2008-2009 budget, adult literacy has seen 46% in cuts.
  • Community colleges are bursting at the seams during the recession with students wanting more education and training, but community college funding is being cut.

For more information from this and other briefings, please visit the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s website where you can see a video of one of the briefings.

PROGRAMS THAT NEED YOUR SUPPORT

Adult Education and Family Literacy

Adult education and family literacy program are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient.

Despite the importance of adult education programs they continue to be cut in the budget year after year – this year being cut by $2,474,000.

Please contact your state legislator today and let then know how important these programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.

Basic Education

The state budget proposed by Governor Corbett takes aim at education, slashing one billion dollars from public education funding and cutting aid to Pennsylvania colleges and universities by 50%. Meanwhile, prison budgets are being increased and Pennsylvania is still the only state that doesn’t tax natural gas drilling or smokeless tobacco.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth is urging everyone to contact their legislator to urge funding for more full day kindergarten, for youth to learn and grow, and to build jobs and build our workforce.

Click here to e-mail your legislators NOW to say NO to the Governor's proposed budget cuts.

Industry Partnerships

On March 8, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his 2011-2012 General Fund Budget. Despite difficult budget constraints, the Governor showed his support for the Industry Partnership program by allocating $ 1.613 million to fund the building of Industry Partnerships. The Governor’s budget, however, zeroed out the Industry Partnership training line item, which had been $5.95 million dollars in last year’s budget. Since the 2008-09 budget the Industry Partnership program has been cut over 90%, from $20 million to $1.613. While many partnerships are wisely diversifying their funding, 90% is a very deep cut.

The PA Fund for Workforce Solutions is working with other advocates, including PathWays PA, over the next several months to persuade legislators and the new administration to restore funding for Industry Partnership training.

Information on the Governor's Budget can be viewed on the PFWS website at www.workforcepa.com or at the state website at www.state.pa.us.


SAVE PROGRAMS BY SUPPORTING THE CLOSURE OF TAX LOOPHOLES

From our friends at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition.

Since the bulk of state funding is invested in local communities, a cuts-only approach to Pennsylvania’s budget will result in higher property taxes and more limited access to local services for children, seniors and many others. Lawmakers can preserve local services and rein in property taxes by taking a more balanced approach to the budget.

The legislature has left revenue on the table by failing to close loopholes and end special tax breaks. Unlike every major energy state, Pennsylvania has no natural gas drilling tax. It is the only state without a smokeless tobacco tax. Loopholes allow large multistate corporations to game the state’s tax system and avoid paying taxes. And Pennsylvania’s sales tax is riddled with exemptions (for products like gold coins and helicopters).

Please urge your members of the General Assembly to support the programs that support Pennsylvania and ask them to do so by ending special tax breaks and closing corporate tax loop-holes.

BUDGET HEARINGS

If you would like to follow the budget progression in real time below is a list of the upcoming budget hearings:

THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2011
10:00 a.m. (HOUSE) Department of Community and Economic Development
1:00 p.m. (HOUSE) Department of Health, including Department of Drug and Alcohol

9:30 a.m. (SENATE) Department of Environmental Protection
1:00 p.m. (SENATE) Department of Transportation
3:00 p.m. (SENATE) Department of Aging

MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011
9:30 a.m. (HOUSE) Judiciary
10:30 a.m. (HOUSE) State-Related Universities (University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Temple University, and Lincoln University)
1:30 p.m. (HOUSE) Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
2:30 p.m. (HOUSE) Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)

9:30 a.m. (SENATE) Office of Auditor General
1:00 p.m. (SENATE) Judicial Department
3:00 p.m. (SENATE) Department of Labor and Industry

TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011
10:00 a.m. (HOUSE) Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
1:00 p.m. (HOUSE) Department of Education

9:30 a.m. (SENATE) Department of Education
1:00 p.m. (SENATE) Department of Corrections/Probation and Parole
3:00 p.m. (SENATE) Office of Attorney General

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011
9:30 a.m. (HOUSE) Department of Labor and Industry
10:30 a.m. (HOUSE) Community Colleges
11:30 a.m. (HOUSE) Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
1:30 p.m. (HOUSE) Department of Public Welfare

9:30 a.m. (SENATE) Department of Public Welfare
1:00 p.m. (SENATE) Department of Agriculture
3:00 p.m. (SENATE) Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011
10:00 a.m. (HOUSE) Budget Secretary – Office of the Governor/Executive Offices
1:00 p.m. (HOUSE) Testimony from House Members

9:30 a.m. (SENATE) Department of State
10:30 a.m. (SENATE) Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)/ Homeland Security

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