Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett got a cold response to his $28.4 billion 2013-2014 state budget from two NEPA Senators. Democratic Senators John Blake (22nd) and John Yudichak (14th) used the terms "gimmicks," "smoke and mirrors," and "sleight of hand" to voice their displeasure.
“When the governor gave his first budget address two years ago, he promised Pennsylvanians a departure from politics-as-usual and an end to one-time gimmicks that generate unsustainable revenues and only serve to temporarily mask larger budget problems."
“Unfortunately, today's budget proposal is built solely on gimmicks and sleight of hand that will hamstring state budgets for years to come. This administration has set Pennsylvania on a radical, partisan course – one driven by Washington think tanks and without regard for the Pennsylvania taxpayers. Local property taxes are going up because state investment is going down in education, human services and transportation."
"Our children's education is being held hostage to the one-time, false promise of the governor's liquor privatization plan. Plans to privatize the lottery and liquor stores – state assets that generate consistent, predictable revenues – are ill-conceived and will put another 40,000 Pennsylvanians out of work on top of the 20,000 that have already lost jobs under this administration."
“In Northeastern Pennsylvania, we continue to fight an uphill battle against alarmingly high unemployment rates and frustrating job creation numbers. By failing to invest in education, transportation and health care – our regions number one employer – this budget will cripple our regional economy."
“The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania suggests that if the governor fails to expand Medicaid, it will cost our hospital millions of dollars and potentially thousands of jobs."
“Across Pennsylvania, families have lost their jobs and have been cut from their health care and today’s budget address provided them with little hope for better days ahead. We need to reinvest in families and stop the partisan governing that has placed ideology above common sense solutions to Pennsylvania's pressing problems."
“Today the Governor expressed optimism for our state but there was little in his budget – or in his policy priorities – to convey confidence or optimism to the people of Pennsylvania”.
“We should be focusing our energy and our resources on jobs and economic growth – but these issues are not foremost in the Governor’s spending plan. Pennsylvania currently ranks 34th out of 50 states in job growth and steep declines in sales tax revenues evidence further deterioration in consumer confidence. There is little in the Governor’s budget, or in his policy priorities, that will change this economic trajectory.”
“As it relies upon one-time, unconventional revenue sources, the Governor’s budget is speculation at best and it is not focused on our long term economic vitality. The Governor proposes to balance the budget with $50 million from an ill-advised lottery privatization; a speculative $100 million plus from so-called “pension reform”; and $1 billion for public education – but only if we put 5,000 state workers out of a job and set up 20,000 new retail outlets to dispense alcohol across the state.”
“The Governor also noted today that we need to work together to provide access to greater and affordable health care. With 500,000 working class Pennsylvanians without health insurance and forced away from preventive care and into the highest cost access point to our health care system – emergency rooms – we simply cannot afford a budget proposal that leaves an estimated $675 million in federal assistance on the table.”
“Fortunately, the General Assembly will have a say in the final 2013-14 spending plan for this Commonwealth. The Governor’s budget, as a starting point, has us pointed in the wrong direction. We can and we will do better.”