Corbett budget gets drilled in new poll

A new poll shows an overwhelming number of Pennsylvania residents oppose Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed cuts to local school districts and state-related universities, while a majority support a Marcellus Shale tax.

The poll, conducted by Franklin & Marshall College between March 10 and 14, comes a week after Corbett proposed a $27.3 billion budget that includes nearly $1 billion in education cuts. Of the 521 respondents, 78 percent opposed reducing funding for local school districts and 67 percent opposed halving funding for state-related universities.

The Philadelphia Senate delegation is holding a roundtable discussion on Friday with representatives from Mayor Nutter’s office, the Philadelphia School District, local universities and hospitals — all of which would be affected. With Republicans controlling the Legislature, the question is whether any changes will be made.

“I think they will tweak the education parts of it,” said Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall’s polling. “They’re not going to cut the state-related [universities] by 50 percent and they’re likely to reduce the burden on local schools budget.”

Despite strong opposition to the budget, 37 percent of residents said the state is headed in the right direction, up from 27 percent in October.

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