The Morning Call reported Thursday House Republicans are putting together a “bare-bones” $28.6 billion General Fund budget which would eliminate hopes of increasing funding to support elementary and secondary education.
The bare-bones option would also not assume any potential savings from adoption of pension reform measures or any revenue from a tax increase or any new taxes.
The House GOP background budget document, which the Morning Call said is not a budget plan, includes these recommendations it said came from Gov. Corbett--
— Five percent cuts in all state departments — with the exception of reductions to basic education, special education, preschools, state-funded universities and the state's college loan program.
— Taking $227 million in excess money from six grant and loan programs designed to help volunteer fire companies, local law enforcement and businesses.
— Saving $31 million by eliminating or reducing four tax credit programs that promote employment, historical preservation, help seniors find home-care and help families attend private or parochial schools. Most of the tax credit changes would come from a $20 million reduction in the $50 million Education Improvement Tax Credit businesses can get for donating to private and nonprofit educational institutions.
-- Transferring $136 million to the general fund budget from special funds used for parks, agriculture preservation and the horse-racing industry. Part of that transfer includes $65 million from the Keystone Recreation Park & Conservation Fund.
The Morning Call quoted Budget Secretary Charles Zogby as saying the governor does not support a bare-bones budget that removes proposals he made in February to spend $400 million more for public education, create a $25 million college scholarship for middle class students and $5.4 million more to reduce the waiting list for disabled adults to find community-based homes.The governor does not support using all the recommendations outlined in the House report, Zogby said. But those ideas were presented to House and Senate leaders to get rank-and-file Republicans to understand the financial reality the state is facing.