The following budget analysis is by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. You can also view other fact sheets and summaries about budget-related legislation at the center's web site.
The General Assembly has enacted a 2012-13 state budget that restores some of the cuts proposed by Governor Tom Corbett to public schools, universities and other services, while leaving intact a 10% cut to human services and deep cuts to education made in 2011. The budget continues to shift costs to local governments and taxpayers, while adding new tax breaks for businesses. Although the state ended the year with a $649 million fund balance, the budget fails to make the investments that are essential to building a strong economy or to reverse a recent trend where job growth in the commonwealth has lagged behind other states.
Overall spending, at $27.656 billion, is $517 million more than the Governor’s February proposal. Still, the final budget remains below budgeted 2008-09 levels, despite four years of recession-driven increases in demand for services. Compared to 2010-11, this budget cuts spending by 1.4%, with public schools, higher education, environmental protection and economic development taking the biggest hits.
The largest cut in this budget is $160 million for the General Assistance Program, which is eliminated effective August 1. General Assistance provides a temporary $205 monthly benefit to 68,887 Pennsylvanians who are sick, disabled or escaping an abuser. Over the years, it has...