On Saturday, June 29th, Governor Corbett approved the new state budget for 2012-2013. Although there is some good news for Pennsylvania’s working families, overall spending will remain below 2008-09 levels which means this is the fifth year in a row that most state services we rely on will have to cope with less. Here’s an overview:
- Tax Cuts & Giveaways – True to his pledge, once again Corbett did not raise taxes. But this did not stop him from giving our taxes away to wealthy corporations like Shell Oil – as much as $1.7 billion over the next 25 years – while still refusing to close the Delaware Tax Loophole.
- A Blow to the Poorest – Governor Corbett has eliminated the General Assistance program. Starting August 1st, 68,000 sick or disabled adults, domestic abuse survivors, adults in alcohol and drug treatment programs and children living with a guardian will stop receiving a vital monthly benefit to keep them afloat.
- Education – Although higher education will not receive any of the proposed budget cuts, deep cuts to basic education remain. Full-day kindergarten and early childhood programs were spared the additional funding cuts.
- Healthcare – Good news – our hospitals and nursing homes were spared the original 4% cut in Medicaid funding. For nursing homes, this equals about $46 million in state money and $55 million in federal dollars. For hospitals, about $12.5 million is restored and numerous proposed cuts to newborn care, burn centers, trauma centers and doctor trainings were avoided.
Bad news – Even without the additional cuts, nursing homes will continue to lose $20 per resident each day. Health and human services received a 10 percent cut in funding which will impact the homeless, mentally ill, and those receiving substance abuse treatment.
Governor Corbett’s final budget shows us where his priorities lay – with placing the interests of rich corporations over the needs of working families still struggling to get a leg up. Rather than give wealthy corporations a hand-out, we need our lawmakers to invest in our children’s education, provide assistance to those who need it most, and focus on creating quality jobs here in Pennsylvania.