The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

February 7, 2012

Governor unveils $27.1 billion hold-the-line budget

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett today proposed a hold-the-line budget of $27.1 billion, with no tax increases, deep cuts to higher education assistance and a range of cost-saving measures in services for the poor, elderly and disabled.

Corbett’s proposal for the 2012-13 fiscal year that begins July 1 comes as his administration grapples with lackluster tax collections and higher costs for debt, health care and pensions. Cuts would be widespread across state agencies.

In prepared remarks, Corbett called his budget “lean and demanding.”

“It is a budget that proposes more in the way of reforms by continuing to change the culture of government from one of entitlement to one of enterprise,” Corbett added in the remarks he planned to deliver to a joint session of the Legislature. “These tough decisions will lay the groundwork for the prosperity of tomorrow.”

Perhaps the most glaring cuts are a proposed reduction of more than $250 million, or about 20 percent, for the State System of Higher Education, Penn State, Pitt and Temple, a year after cutting the schools by almost 20 percent.

Public schools would see a small reduction, a year after absorbing cuts of about $860 million, or more than 10 percent to help balance a multibillion-dollar deficit.

He also would institute hundreds of millions of dollars in cost-saving measures to offset a rising tab for services for the poor, elderly and disabled in the Department of Public Welfare’s $10.5 billion budget.

Among them is a plan to save $319 million by eliminating cash payments for about 60,000 participants in the General Assistance program and imposing new eligibility rules, including minimum work requirements, for about 30,000 General Assistance recipients who receive Medicaid benefits.

For businesses, Corbett would cut an asset tax that businesses pay, reducing expected collections by about $250 million.

Corbett, a Republican, and the Republican-controlled Legislature this year enacted a $27.1 billion budget, a spending reduction of about 3 percent. However, mid-year tax collections were running behind, prompting the governor to request a freeze of more than $200 million.

Corbett’s budget chief, Charles Zogby, said the current budget is expected to end in June with a $719 million shortfall. While revenues is expected to increase in 2012-13 by 3.8 percent, or slightly more than $1 billion, much of it will be consumed by fixed increases in pension and debt costs. “It’s a very difficult budget year. It’s really a math exercise.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 4/20/2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads