Share This Page

State will lose $220M in federal budget cuts

| Saturday, June 22, 2013, 12:05 a.m.

Pennsylvania expects to lose nearly $220 million for education, health, welfare and other services under federal budget cuts, Gov. Tom Corbett cautioned on Friday.

He wanted to make clear to Pennsylvanians that the losses will stem from budget inaction in Washington, not the $28.3 billion state budget lawmakers expect to pass by June 30, Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said.

“The (state) legislature and the governor are doing their jobs. It's Washington that's not,” Harley said.

In a prepared statement, Corbett said the state cannot afford to replace federal money being lost for the 2013-14 fiscal year that begins July 1. A series of across-the-board spending reductions, dubbed sequestration, began taking effect March 1, designed to draw down the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

The cuts started because President Obama and Republican congressional leaders could not reach a budget compromise.

State Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, called the Republican governor “absolutely correct” in his criticism.

“It's very upsetting. In the 25 years I've been in office, it's been a slow reduction of the federal government's commitment,” Ferlo said. “They're taking more and more tax money from everybody, keeping it in Washington, and we're not getting a return on our investment.”

The Corbett administration said sequestration will mean a decrease of $22 million in special education funding for Pennsylvania next year. Other expected cuts include at least $6 million from the Women, Infants and Children program; $5.3 million from community mental health and domestic violence services; and $1.6 million from a public health preparedness program.

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, said he empathizes with Corbett's situation. But he said the governor's own party is to blame, calling on Corbett to press GOP lawmakers for a resolution.

“Or it's only going to get worse,” Doyle said.

Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 orasmeltz@tribweb.com.

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.