Gov. Tom Corbett didn’t directly raise any taxes in his first budget address built on the “core principles [of] fiscal discipline, limited government, free enterprise and reform” yesterday.
That doesn’t mean his proposal won’t translate into local tax increases and he addressed the possibility.
“We all know that there’s an elephant in the room when it comes to education funding: The property tax. Too often we have seen school boards raise property taxes to avoid hard and necessary choices,” he said during a 41-minute address. “I believe any new property tax increases beyond inflation should be put on the ballot. If school boards can’t say no, maybe the taxpayers will.”
He called on public-school employees “to hold the line” even if it means a one-year pay freeze that “could save school districts $400 million.” He also proposed a $650 million reduction to state-related universities including Temple and Lincoln, which would lose more than half of their state backing. In a video response posted on Temple’s website, university president Ann Weaver Hart urged students and faculty to “make their voice heard” opposing cuts.
Mayor Michael Nutter said is “very concerned about what the proposals outlined today mean for Philadelphia’s students, our vulnerable citizens, and our ability to grow and create jobs.”
By the numbers
» $27.3 billion: Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed 2011-12 budget
» $4.16 billion: State deficit
» $2.6 billion: Lost federal stimulus dollars this year
» $850 million: Savings from eliminating various budgetary line items
» $650 million: Proposed cuts to higher education
» $550 million: Proposed cuts in basic-education funding
» $400 million: amount state would save if school officials and teachers agree to a one-year pay freeze
» 1,500: State positions/jobs eliminated
» 3.1 percent: how much larger last year’s budget was
» 3 percent: State-government spending reduction