Area legislators react to proposed budget
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 3:56 a.m.
An area state legislator said Gov. Tom Corbett was heeding more than 30 House members by rejecting the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare during his budget address.
“The governor announced this decision and honored our wishes, thereby once again preventing hardworking Pennsylvania taxpayers from being put on the hook for a massive spending increase ranging from $1.3 billion to $5.5 billion over the next eight years,” state Rep. George Dunbar, R-Penn Township, posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday,
On Jan. 31, Dunbar, a deputy House majority whip, joined other GOP lawmakers in a call to take action “preventing exorbitant costs from being passed onto our hardworking taxpayers.”
Other area signers of that letter included Reps. Tim Krieger of Delmont and Eli Evankovich of Murrysville.
“Moving forward, the best and only sustainable decision for Pennsylvania's taxpayers, doctors, patients and our total economic future is to continue to reject the implementation of Obamacare in full,” Dunbar said.
Democrats disagree, including Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Monroeville, minority chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
In an assessment of the governor's budget proposal, Markosek said “no additional health care under Medicaid expansion ... would keep tens of billions of federal funds from flowing into Pennsylvania, generating an economic spinoff associated with new jobs and additional state and local tax revenue.”
Markosek has other problems with the budget as well, saying the governor “is recommending some very comprehensive and questionable policy changes ... that will have a dramatic impact on the Pennsylvania economy.”
Corbett does not propose any increase in income or sales taxes, but would raise the oil company franchise tax to bring in $5 billion for bridges, roads and mass transit.
“When you go to the pump, you have this tax and that tax, and that goes into the $3.65 (per gallon), and you're still going to raise it to the highest prices in the state's history,” said Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Monessen. “If you're taking money out of someone's pocket, it doesn't matter if it's the left or the right, the front or the back. A tax is a tax, and the people feel it.”
Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, is leery about the oil company franchise tax being passed down to consumers at the pump, but is willing to hear more.
“Give me some hard numbers, and show me where this thing is going to work,” Saccone said. “Let them explain it to me simply, so I can re-explain it simply to my constituents.”
McKeesport's state House members think there are other places to find revenue.
“Instead the governor is fighting to end the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax and cut other business taxes that would force more of the burden on to struggling middle-class families,” said Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak.
Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, said the governor could “close the Delaware loophole which allows 85 percent of corporations doing business in the state to pay less income tax than a family earning $36,000.”
Saccone said he isn't willing to march in lockstep with fellow Republican Corbett, but said Democrats need to give more than “their own ideological reasons” to object to Corbett's budget.
“I try to look at the facts and study as hard as I can to sift through what is rhetoric and what is good policy,” Saccone said. “If somebody is right, based on facts, they're right. And if they're wrong, they're wrong.”
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Valley Independent contributed to this story.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport history center highlights women’s roles in Civil War
- Duquesne man dies in crash
- 40 McKeesport kids to go to summer camp for free
- Gubernatorial candidate Wolf touches base with McKeesport voters
- Children present ‘Cinderella’ at Elizabeth theater
- Elizabeth businesses expand despite traffic woes, road issues
- McKeesport aerobic fundraiser for cystic fibrosis challenges attendees
- McKeesport-area officials on lookout for landslides
- Family, McKeesport community grieves for girl, 14, killed by truck
- Plaza’s pending sheriff’s sale a surprise to West Mifflin officials
- AIU forum bashes governor’s education budget