Two weeks after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his $28.4 billion dollar budget proposal, state lawmakers are settling in for what could be a fight. Three weeks of House and Senate budget hearings began Tuesday in Harrisburg.
Throughout the hearings, agency secretaries sit before the two chambers' appropriations committees to answer questions about their budgets.
Senator Jim Ferlo (D- Allegheny County) quickly set the tone for the hearings in his questioning of PA Budget Secretary Charles Zogby.
“I mean this respectfully, but the hubris and budgetary arrogance of this administration knows no bounds, in my opinion,” said Ferlo. “You know you submitted a budget, and you talked about apples and oranges earlier, and I think the administration has a peaches and cream view about the state of our commonwealth.”
Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, blasted the Corbett administration for opting against the authorized expansion of Medicaid. He said he asked the administration in November to share the data on which it was basing its decision, and he is still waiting for numbers.
Also on the list of issues to be debated by the committee is the recent rejection of the administration’s contract to privatize the lottery. Those questions are expected to be pointed to the state attorney general, who announced the rejection, and the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery.