HARRISBURG -- Governor Tom Corbett gave his annual budget address in Harrisburg on Tuesday morning.
He proposed a $29.4 billion state spending plan, three percent higher than last year.
There are no new taxes and several years after big cuts to education, this year Corbett wants funding for public schools to go up.
“You know, we've done a lot of good work, you and I, in building a stronger Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Corbett in his budget address.
Corbett is now a governor running for reelection and this budget proposal came without any controversial cuts like we saw early in his administration.
Corbett credits an improving economy for increasing state tax revenue.
Here are the highlights of this $29.4 billion budget proposal:
- no tax increases,
- more public school funding,
- new college scholarships,
- more health care funding for the poor and elderly,
- increased environmental protection.
“All around us are the hopeful signs of a stronger Pennsylvania. We have work to do and commitments to honor. Now we have a way forward with the budget I submit today.”
Cuts to education several years ago drew outrage from many school districts. Now Governor Corbett proposes more than$ 250 million in additional funding to public schools.
While state college funding stays the same, the governor wants to create $25 million in scholarships for middle income students.
“As we increase education spending, we are making certain that more of that money goes where it will do the most good, directly to our children.”
The governor credited the natural gas industry for helping fuel the state's economic growth and credited the state enacted impact fee for raising $600 million.
“We are very fortunate and we can be very proud that the shale gas revolution is happening right here in Pennsylvania. Go to Williamsport and you won't doubt the difference that this industry is making for our state.”
Corbett also pleaded with lawmakers to fix a $4 billion problem with state pension reform, and to make this the year that the state's beer and liquor laws are changed.
“Let's make 2014 'last call' for state controlled liquor in Pennsylvania.”