Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's 4th budget takes risks to boost spending

Published: Feb 04 2014 02:40:40 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 04 2014 09:29:18 PM EST
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

A big year for tax collections, some new sources of cash and delayed pension and health care bills are contributing to Gov. Tom Corbett's fourth and biggest spending plan for Pennsylvania state government.

The Republican governor delivered the proposal to lawmakers Tuesday.

Corbett's re-election year plan carries the biggest increase in tax collections and spending since he took office, and would include a big new grant program for public schools and more money for a range of social services.

Some Democrats did not find these increases to be adequate.

"Three hundred and seventy teachers gone in Allentown, twenty percent of our overall teaching complement is no more and property taxes have risen twenty percent to make up for the shortfall," said State Representative Mike Schlossberg. "This year they're supposed to go up another nine percent and we're looking and even more staff cuts. You cannot tell me with numbers like that that education is getting its fair shake of the budget."

It wouldn't raise taxes, but he's looking to newly legal gambling in bars and a stepped-up government collection of unclaimed money to help boost revenue.

To blunt rising pension and health care costs, he's counting on getting approval for plans to postpone some Medicaid and pension payments until later years.

Highlights of Corbett's spending blueprint for the 2014-15 year that starts July 1:
 
THE BIG PICTURE:

 
TAXES/REVENUES

EDUCATION

 
JOBS

PENSIONS

HEALTH CARE/SOCIAL SERVICES

 
MISCELLANEOUS

State Senator Vincent Hughes was not impressed with Corbett's budget plans.

"If there's anything to say about this budget proposal that we heard today, it is clearly disappointing at best. It leaves working people behind," Hughes said.

Sources: Corbett administration, 2014-15 state budget documents.