Local
3:57 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

Corbett Defends Proposed Budget Cuts

Governor Corbett is taking to the road to explain and defend his budget proposal.

He's asking for critics to take a big-picture view of his proposed reductions to higher education.

Sure, 20 and 30 percent cuts to state-supported colleges and universities might sound bad, but the governor urged Pennsylvanians take a look at what those cuts would mean for the schools' overall operating budgets.

He said they would all make up between one and four percent of the schools' spending.

"We have to adjust," said Corbett. "In difficult economic times, they have to adjust. And frankly, I don't accept the fact that they automatically have to raise tuition. You have to make yourself lean."

The proposed 20 percent cut to the State System of Higher Education would amount to 3.5 percent of the system's operating budget.

The cut to Penn State would amount to a 1.6 percent decrease in its overall budget; for the University of Pittsburgh, the proposed reduction would make a 2.1 percent drop to the budget; Temple University's planned cut would be a 1.8 percent reduction to the school's overall budget.

Horseracing, Agriculture Spending Changes

The governor is also defending his proposal to take money out of a fund for the horse racing industry in order to prop up agriculture and other programs. Corbett's budget plan would take $72 million out of the Race Horse Development Fund.

"It's hard times for everybody," said Corbett. "We are taking some of the money over to 'Ag,' but we're also going to encourage the fairs, and they'll be seeing some of that money through the fairs."

The money would go into Pennsylvania Fairs, as well as Agricultural Research and Extension, and veterinary centers at Penn State.

Groups representing the horse racing industry in Pennsylvania balked at the plan, which they say will discourage further growth in the horse sector and cost jobs.

Some $130 million would be left in the fund. The funding transfer would require legislative approval.