HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY—In reaction to falling revenue and a projected nearly half billion dollar deficit. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett ordered his Budget Office to freeze nearly $160 million in state spending. The governor also has asked government entities not under his jurisdiction to reduce their spending by nearly $66 million.
"Until revenue collections improve, we must take precautions to ensure that the commonwealth budget remains in balance," Governor Corbett said.
The state-related universities Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities will see a reduction of 5 percent, or $25.7 million, in state funding.
Public safety agencies, such as State Police and the Department of Corrections, will freeze approximately 1 percent of their spending. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is not being directed to freeze any funds because of the numerous disaster-related emergency response activities that agency has coordinated this fiscal year, the governor said.
Basic education subsidy funds paid to school districts will not be affected, and the Department of Public Welfare will see a spending reduction of less than 1 percent, or $55 million. The funds being placed into budgetary reserve across all agencies represent less than 1 percent of the total $27.2 billion General Fund budget.
"We did not make the decision to freeze these funds lightly. If the revenue picture improves in the months ahead and we determine these funds no longer need to remain frozen, we may be able to free up some or perhaps even all of the funds we are now placing into budgetary reserve," Corbett said.
For a list of funds placed into budgetary reserve, please visit the Current and Proposed Commonwealth Budgets section of the Office of the Budget website at www.budget.state.pa.us.