A look at the budget: Governor Corbett’s budget priorities

Bravo Group employees watch Gov. Corbett's budget address live.
Bravo Group employees watch Gov. Corbett’s budget address live.
Typical college students and recent graduates often do not pay much attention to the governor’s budget proposal. In fact, almost anything government related is not on top of our minds. After interning for multiple organizations and seeing how public relations and government relations work together, I am learning why paying attention to the government is important.
This week, Bravo Group colleagues tuned in to watch Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget address live on PCN. This was my first official time watching any Pennsylvania governor reveal his state budget, the speech did not go quite as I had imagined.
 In the past, I’ve often heard discussions of the budget address referencing cuts made to various industries. I believed individuals learned this information directly from his speech.  I thought the governor simply listed budget line items and stated the denominations. Instead, I found out the budget address is given in speech form highlighting priorities along with background on past problems and/or successes in the various industries. 
 Here are some key points from the speech:
 Building a Stronger Pennsylvania
Gov. Corbett began his budget address by emphasizing the importance of reviving the state’s economy in order to build a stronger Pennsylvania.  The legislative priorities he mentioned indicate the direction where he would like to see Pennsylvania go.
 Corbett proposed every child in Pennsylvania should have the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. With $10.1 billion in education funding, Corbett hopes to bring a 21st century education to Pennsylvania. His budget focuses on reforms to help k-12 students graduate high school and enter post-secondary institutions or the workforce. Corbett’s “Ready to Learn” education agenda brings strategic investments to all levels of education.
The economy has not fully recovered from the recession. Corbett’s budget would invest $450 million for job training in order to develop a stronger, competent workforce and increase the state’s competitive edge. Corbett’s goal is to attract more companies and business to Pennsylvania.
 Health and Human Services
Corbett introduced “Healthy Pennsylvania,” or “Healthy PA,” his alternative to Medicaid expansion.  Healthy PA would increase healthcare access for more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians. Corbett said his plan will take full advantage of competitive pricing in the free market, bring more doctors into under-served communities, and bring specialists to remote areas through telemedicine.
In addition to the three priorities, Corbett also covered topics such as energy, transportation, liquor privatization, and pension reform during his budget address. The governor’s budget is merely a starting point in the budget process. Members of the General Assembly will begin to hold weeks of hearings and negotiations that will ultimately produce a final budget by the end of June.
Want to learn more about the budget process? Visit “Tips for first time PA Budget watchers”  on Bravo Chat, Bravo Group’s blog, for tips for budget-newbies.
 Alizah Thornton
Bravo-Harrisburg Intern

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