(Feb 4) Gov. Corbett proposes $29.4 billion state budget; suggests pension savings, new money for education

By Karen Langley and Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau February 4, 2014 11:23 PM

HARRISBURG — After earlier proposals of spare budgets, Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday put forward a more generous plan for state government — with a new $240 million grant program for K-12 education, an area of political liability — as he heads into a re-election battle.

Along with the Ready to Learn block grant program, which schools could use for curriculum development or teacher training, the governor proposed a $25 million scholarship fund for college students from middle-income families, funding to provide services for 1,200 people with intellectual disabilities and the first increase to special education funding in six years.

Taken together with rising pension and Medicaid costs, the proposals would bring the state general fund to $29.4 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent from the current year. To pay for it, the administration relies on projected revenue growth, one-time sources such as limited leasing of state forest and park land and a shortening of the holding of unclaimed property, reduced pension contributions and yet-unapproved changes to the state Medicaid program.

“Things are coming together,” Mr. Corbett told legislators, administration officials and guests — including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto — gathered in the hall of the House of Representatives. “All around us are the hopeful signs of a stronger Pennsylvania. We have work to do and commitments to honor.”

Full story: Gov. Corbett proposes $29.4 billion state budget; suggests pension savings, new money for education Karen Langley and Kate Giammarise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/4/14

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