HARRISBURG — Gov. Corbett on Wednesday said that no one — not even state government — is recession proof, and that despite a smaller budget shortfall this year, his administration is going to think hard before it begins restoring cuts to education, social services and other programs taking hits in next year's proposed state budget.
The governor made his remarks after a morning speech before the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Corbett said that he understands people are unhappy with cuts he's proposing in his $27.1 billion budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. And, he said he too dislikes making them.But Corbett stressed he wants to proceed cautiously, even in wake of news that the budget shortfall this year is less than originally predicted: about $300 million vs. $719 million.Even with that extra fiscal breathing room, Corbett said he does not want to leap to a conclusion the numbers signify an economy on permanent mend.
Republicans who control the state Senate earlier this week proposed making about $500 million in funding restorations to Corbett's budget, which would slice millions of dollars for higher education and sharply scale back programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled.
But Corbett today called the additional $500 million "a ceiling."
"These are negotiations, and negotiations have two ends and we will work toward something in between," the governor said.
He added: "Would I consider putting some of that money in? Yes, I would consider it … But $500 million is a lot."
The Senate plan would restore $245 million of the $253 million that Corbett is proposing to slice from funding for the 18 schools in the State System of Higher Education. It would also restore tens of millions in basic education funding, including $50 million for distressed schools and another $50 million for Accountability Block Grants that help pay for early childhood education.
Under the state formula, $11 million of the block grant money would go to Philadelphia schools.