PA Budget Challenges Continue, Peifer Says
2/5/2013

Capitol Roundup from Rep. Mike Peifer 

PA Budget Challenges Continue, Peifer Says

Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne) said the 2013-14 state budget proposal offered by Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday reflects the many challenges facing the Commonwealth as it continues on the slow path toward economic recovery.

“I am encouraged the state is moving in the right direction, but we must continue to make sound budget decisions that properly fund the core responsibilities of government,” said Peifer, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is charged with crafting the state budget. “Education and transportation are at the top of that priority list, and the governor has provided us a good blueprint for negotiations on these important issues.”

Budget Addresses Education, Transportation Priorities

The $28.44 billion budget proposal, unveiled before a joint session of the General Assembly, invests an additional $338 million in public education, including $90 million more in basic education funding. Funding for special education and higher education would remain the same as in the current fiscal year. The budget also allots $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant program, which provides flexible funding to school districts things such as pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten programs.

During the budget address, the governor unveiled his proposal to boost funding for highway and bridge repairs and mass transit. The focus of the proposal is a phase-out of the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax over a five-year period. He also proposes to change vehicle registration to a two-year cycle, rather than annual, and driver licenses would be valid for six years, rather than four. The actual cost to drivers will not change.

Additionally, the governor is proposing funding for 290 new state troopers and 90 dispatchers to boost public safety. He also is proposing an additional $20 million investment to provide services for more people with intellectual disabilities.

What’s Next in Budget Process

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I look forward to the opportunity to review the governor’s proposal and to hear from the heads of our state agencies about their budget needs,” Peifer said.

Budget hearings begin on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and will continue through March 7. A final budget must be adopted by the end of the current fiscal year, June 30.

For more information about the governor’s budget proposal, visit www.RepPeifer.com.

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