Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's Freezing in Pennsylvania - the Budget, That Is

While many of us in Pennsylvania are shivering through the first real cold spell of the winter, Governor Corbett's budget announcement yesterday sent new shivers through many programs and services already struggling in a tough economy.  The projected $486 million revenue shortfall led to the Governor's proposal to "freeze" $160 million in spending. (For further analysis of the revenue shortfall, please visit this link from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.) While this funding could be made available again in the fiscal year if revenue picks up, in most cases, budget freezes equal budget cuts.

Below is a partial list of the cuts made to programs - for a full list, visit http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1214310/12_01_04_2011_12_freeze_tr_web_pdf.



Not all line items were frozen. Below are some important items that remain at the same funding levels:

  • Farmer's Market Food Coupons: $2,079,000
  • State Food Purchase: $17,338,000
  • Basic Education Funding: $5,354,629,000
  • Special Education: $1,026,815,000
  • Community Colleges: $212,167,000
  • Child Care Services: $154,265,000
  • Child Care Assistance: $171,989,000
  • Services to Persons with Disabilities: $135,672,000
As we approach the new budget cycle, it may also be time to start thinking of new ways to approach the budget shortfalls beyond continuous program cuts, such as closing tax loopholes.  To learn more about alternatives to budget cuts, please visit the website for the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition.

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