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House Adopts On-Time, Fiscally Responsible Budget, Tobash Says

The state House has approved an on-time budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year that cuts state spending and includes no new or increased taxes, said Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks).


“I am pleased to have the opportunity to vote for a state budget that, for only the third time in the last four decades, actually spends less than the prior fiscal year’s spending plan,” Tobash said. “This is an important step toward right-sizing state government that will pay dividends for our citizens, job creators and our economy overall.” 

Tobash said he is encouraged by the fact that, in the last two months, state revenues have exceeded estimates, and he’s even more encouraged by the fact that, as this trend continues, some of that money will help pay the debt we owe. Those liabilities include $4 billion in unemployment compensation funds borrowed from the federal government and nearly $30 billion in pension liabilities among others.


“Budgeting is about planning for the future, and we can no longer afford to ignore these costly liabilities and go deeper into debt,” Tobash said.


Even in this difficult budget year, lawmakers were able to restore a significant amount of funding for public education that Gov. Tom Corbett originally proposed to cut.


Specifically, the final budget restores more than $230 million for K-12 public education, including $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant program, which provides flexible funds for school districts to use for programs such as all-day kindergarten or pre-kindergarten. Funding for the State System of Higher Education and state-related institutions such as Penn State was also partially restored.


Overall, the state invests more than one-third of its annual state budget on education.


“Educating our children is a very important investment in our state’s future, but we also must take steps to improve the jobs climate to protect that investment,” Tobash said. “Too many young people are forced to leave the area or the state because there aren’t sufficient job opportunities here. We need to strive for quality and cost-effective education to help facilitate job growth. Affordable and marketable education that is focused on the needs of business is a fundamental building block of a thriving economy.”


Tobash said the education funding restorations were made possible by cutting $400 million from the governor’s proposed welfare budget.


“Significant evidence of waste, fraud and abuse within the welfare system has been identified, and we need to act promptly to put a stop to it,” Tobash said. “The safety net is there for the people who truly need it. Taxpayers cannot afford people who abuse the system.”


Tobash noted that the House has adopted a number of measures aimed at reforming the welfare system, and some of those will be implemented as part of the budget process.


State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact:  Patricia Hippler
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