After a tour of Giffin Interior and Fixture, Inc. in Bridgeville, Governor Tom Corbett told a group of workers and media that companies like Giffin will continue to thrive under his budget proposal. He's urging lawmakers to pass the $27.14 billion spending plan in its current form.
"It's not an easy budget. Last year was not an easy budget," said Corbett. "It's built the way you in business and you at home have to build your household budget: you can spend no more than you have, and I think that's very important."
Corbett said that while some cuts had to be made, funding remained intact for some things that he said will help increase the workforce.
"For instance, my budget retains training for the practical trades. It retains that training money. Our Jobs First Pennsylvania proposal helps to target the trained labor force for jobs that already exist," he said.
Giffin Interior and Fixture has been in businesses since 1980 and before the recession employed more than 200 people, but owner Gordon Giffin said it hit bottom a few years ago and had to let a lot of people go. The company started to build back up recently and currently employs about 110 people. Governor Corbett said it's businesses like Giffin that will help the economy get back on track.
"What we're looking at is what you do, the private sector creating jobs, not government creating jobs, the private sector creating jobs," said Corbett. "The more jobs we create in government, the more money is taken away from the private sector."
The governor's plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1 holds the line on taxes and closes a projected deficit of $700 million, in part by trimming appropriations to the 14 state-owned universities by 20%, and cutting funding to the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State and Temple by 30%.
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats have now unveiled their own budget plan, calling for more than $1 billion in new spending. That plan would add at least $250 million to Accountability Block Grants and higher education, while another $250 million would funnel into "job creation strategies," including research and development.
Budget talks begin in earnest when the state legislature returns following its Primary Election break.