Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Corbett: "We Will Negotiate How We Get to $27.3B

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is sticking to his budget plan.
During an appearance at a York County manufacturing company Monday afternoon, the governor defended his decision to eliminate nearly a billion dollars in government programs, saying Pennsylvania doesn’t have the revenue to sustain current spending levels. “Some…are complaining this budget is too business-friendly. I disagree,” he said. “Business is what this country is about. Business grows jobs. Helping business isn’t selling out. It’s buying into the future of this country. Buying into the future of Pennsylvania. Making sure workers have works.

Corbett has faced loud criticism from some quarters, and was booed during two weekend events in Pittsburgh. but he insisted reaction has been exactly what he expected. “I’ve had a lot of people coming up to me saying, ‘yeah, you’re doing absolutely the right thing.’ I walked in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh. I got booed. I got cheered. That’s how it is when you’re governor and you have to make tough decisions. There are no easy decisions in this,” he said.

When asked about specific line items, Corbett insisted his budget is merely the starting point for negotiations, comparing it to the first quarter of a football (or lacrosse?) game. He’s willing to negotiate the amount of money going to each department, he said, but not the overall spending total. “I will consider everything,” he said. “I know 27.3 is the number. We will work to how we get there, and we will negotiate to how we get there.”

Corbett’s appearance came about an hour after a group of former adultBasic enrollees filed a class action suit against the governor, Senate and House for letting the low income health insurance program expire. The Republican deflected a question about the suit with the same adultBasic response he’s been giving for weeks: it’s former Governor Ed Rendell’s fault the program is out of funding. “That money is gone. We will not spend money we do not have,” he said. “I will comment that Senator Stack of Philadelphia has commented the legislature could have used their reserves. Pretty good observation, but I don’t have access to those reserves. I wish I did.”

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