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State officials react along party lines

Published February 08. 2012 05:01PM

State officials are speaking out about Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed $27.14 billion state budget announcement Tuesday. The budget calls for cost-cutting measures that are projected to save the state $488 million.

Republicans are praising Corbett for the budget because they feel the proposed spending plan "supports job growth" and is "sustainable." Democrats, on the other hand, believe the proposed plan "shortchanges Pennsylvania's future."

Local state Reps. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Schuylkill) and Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon); as well as state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon/Monroe) weighed in following Corbett's announcement yesterday.

"I am pleased that this proposed budget again contains less spending and no new taxes, as it did last year," Knowles said. "The budget is directly reflective of the current fiscal climate in our state and country. It responds to the concerns and necessities of the people that I represent."

Knowles noted that the proposed budget decreases spending by $22 million and "reflects long-term goals, such as job creation."

"We are continuing to take steps in the right direction to get Pennsylvania back on track," he said.

Heffley echoed Knowles' thoughts, saying that the proposed budget is "a blueprint that balances state spending with state revenue."

"I applaud the governor for recognizing that during tough economic times, now is not the time to increase taxes on the citizens of Pennsylvania," he said.

"This nearly level-funded proposal does not contain any new taxes and includes several proposals which could help return jobs to our commonwealth, which is what our state needs to get back on the road to economic recovery."

Heffley added that he would like to hear the opinions of the people of the 122nd District on the proposed budget so that he can help draft a final budget that "serves the interests of residents of Carbon County and the entire state."

Yudichak, on the other hand, said he feels the budget is not moving the state in the right direction.

"The governor's budget continues a dodge and shift philosophy that shortchanges Pennsylvania's future by hurting working families, our schools, and our communities," he said. "The budget dodges the responsibility of creating jobs and opportunity while shifting the tax burden to local taxpayers."

Yudichak pointed out that the proposed budget calls for cuts in education funding and human services programs.

"Since day one, Senate Democrats have outlined a job creation strategy that proves that through innovation and strategic investment, we can turn this economy around and invest in Pennsylvania without raising taxes," he said. "Dodging the tough decisions in Harrisburg while shifting more and more of the burden onto the backs of working Pennsylvanians is the driving force of the governor's budget and much work remains to improve the document.

"Pennsylvanians are looking for a fair shot at a good job, an education for their children and a safe neighborhood to raise their family. The state budget should be focused on these common sense priorities, not driven by a cut-first ideology."

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