The main Pennsylvania state budget was signed into law last night by Governor Corbett. Governor Corbett was not happy that his wider agenda has not been met. He sought to overhaul the public employee pensions systems, privatizing State Liquor Stores, privatizing the State Lottery and increasing transportation funding. The minority Democrats have put a halt to some of Corbett’s agenda.
The House voted along party lines, 111-92, while a more bipartisan Senate supported the Budget proposal. It is a $28.4 billion spending plan, an increase of 2.6% or $719 million. The increase is largely for health care for the poor, social services, public employee pensions, school budgets and prisons. It also gives another tax cut to businesses at cost of about $300 million. The bill is $65 million less than Governor Corbett originally proposed.
Democrats have tried to free up more money for School Budgets and social programs by delaying business tax cuts. The House Republicans have not been able to get enough votes to pass a $2 billion transportation bill. House Democrats do not support I t because they feel it is inadequate for mass transut systems. Senate Republicans have refused to approve the bill to Privatize State Liquor Stores, unless the bill remains unchanged and the transportation bill gets approval.
The Senate also approved legislation to potentially expand Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of adult Pennsylvanians under the ACA. Of course Republicans oppose this, anything that President Obama supports Republicans are against. The issue could become a sticking point as lawmakers consider other budget related bills.
Hopefully with the 2014 election looming; this parts that have been stalled will be stopped. Governor Corbett is well behind his possible Democrat challengers in early polls. His approval numbers have dipped consistently. His connections to big business may be his undoing. Governor Corbett needs to be removed from office to move Pennsylvania forward.