Governor Tom Corbett today presented his 2012-13 budget to the General Assembly, asking legislators to continue the path of fiscal restraint and to encourage free enterprise for a more prosperous Pennsylvania.
"Last year, we accomplished much of real consequence. For the first time in 40 years, we spent less," Corbett said. "Pennsylvania took its first steps toward changing the culture of tax and spend. Together, we showed we can make reforms that count. It is time to show citizens, weary of empty promises…that we can accomplish more.
The $27.14 billion proposal maintains Corbett's commitment to balance the state budget. The budget closes a projected revenue shortfall of more than $700 million and reduces spending by more than $20 million. It meets the state's pension obligations and does not raise taxes for residents or businesses.
"Every dollar taken in tax is one less dollar in the hands of a job-holder or a job-creator," Corbett said. "We will not spend more than we have. We will not raise taxes. We can't ask people to travel the road to recovery and then turn around and add to the burden they must carry along the way."
Most importantly, this year's budget begins to transform the way government delivers products and services through greater use of block grants giving greater control and flexibility to the recipients, including local governments, community organizations and school districts.
The proposed budget focuses on five key areas: economic opportunities, education, human services, public safety and streamlining government.
"Business creates jobs where it feels welcome. Citizens live best when they are employed and don't live in the constant fear that what they earn will be taxed away," Corbett said. "Our unemployment rate dropped by almost a full percentage point from the end of 2010 to this very moment, and, as the year began it was still nearly a full percentage point below the national average.
"This is the road to recovery. We are on it. It sometimes runs uphill but, thanks to your partnership in the past year, Pennsylvania is going in the right direction. We must not turn back now."
Some initiatives include:
Continuing the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax which impacts the competitiveness of virtually every company in the state.
Maintaining tax credit programs such as the Research and Development Tax Credit, Job Creation Tax Credit, Film Production Tax Credit and Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit.
Continuing the work on the Delaware River channel, which encourages business growth to the Port of Philadelphia and surrounding areas of the southeast.
Encouraging energy-producing businesses that will generate jobs. As a side benefit, the state's abundant supply of natural gas reduces home-heating costs for Pennsylvanians who use the clean fuel.
Creating programs that will support employers and workers, such as JOBSFirst PA, which invests in small and large businesses, offering initiatives to cultivate and create new industries and jobs.
Providing employer-driven, on-the-job training opportunities for unemployed workers through a program called Keystone Works.
"Pennsylvania competes with every state in the union for factories, offices and corporate headquarters," Corbett said. "The shorter we make the journey from the drawing board to the ribbon cutting, the better our chances of growing jobs."