Corbett talks budget, revenue shortfall

Governor Tom Corbett says he’s confident his budget proposal will have the approval of the Pennsylvania legislature by the June 30 deadline.

Speaking Thursday before the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation near Harrisburg, Corbett also acknowledged a revenue shortfall that fell well behind projections in April.

The Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee said Wednesday that a shortfall of $477 million was due mostly to lagging personal income tax collections. The deficit was about $170 million on April 1.

The deficit is threatening to knock the governor’s election-year budget proposal out of balance by as much as $1 billion.

Corbett blamed Washington, saying federal tax increases last year turned into less revenue for the state this year.

“You might get some short-term gains, but long-term you see reduced revenue and yes, it’s going to have an impact on my budget proposal because we’re not seeing the money that we believed we would,” Corbett said.

Lawmakers critical of the governor’s spending plan say Pennsylvania could save more than $1 billion by expanding Medicaid under the 2010 federal health care law and privatizing the management of Medicaid-funded nursing home care. Some are calling for a tax on the natural gas industry and smokeless tobacco.

Corbett says Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has fallen in the four years he’s been in office, and not raising taxes is one reason why.

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