Bill would save over $1 Billion to Restore Education Funding and More

McKeesport – April 15, 2011 – State Sen. Jim Brewster and fellow Senate Democrats have unveiled a budget plan that would generate $1.14 billion in savings to restore funding for basic and higher education, safety net programs, mortgage assistance and other vital programs.

“There seems to be near universal support for restoring some or all of these budget line items,” Brewster said. “Our proposal restores funding without raising taxes or cutting other vital services or programs.

Brewster said the Democratic plan is in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s March budget proposal where he called for steep funding cuts to school districts and colleges, social services, hospitals, health insurance programs, job creation programs and county subsidies.

The Senate Democratic plan would:

  • save $750 million from fiscal responsibility initiatives in Public Welfare, Corrections, procurement and by maximizing revenues;
  • save $290 million through a tax fairness initiative would place a moderate tax on gas drillers while freezing the governor’s other proposed corporate tax breaks; and
  • generate $100 million more by giving the state store system more procurement and marketing flexibility.

Brewster said Senate Democratic appropriations officials have projected $300 million fiscal year-end revenue surplus – far higher than the $78 million projected in the Corbett budget proposal. He said the higher surplus would hopefully enable lawmakers to make even more restorations.

Brewster added that creating jobs remains the key to solving the state’s revenue and economic woes. He and his fellow Senate Democrats have proposed a sweeping jobs plan called “PA Works” that would create jobs, leverage private funds and generate economic investment.

“There are some great ideas in both our jobs and budget restoration plans,” Brewster said. “I hope legislative Republicans and the governor provide us an opportunity to fully air, discuss and mix some of these solutions into the final budget this year.”

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