Health - February 8, 2013

Budget Breakdown: Who wins and who loses?

The Scranton Times-Tribune has noted who the big winners and losers are after Governor Tom Corbett’s budget address this past week.  Big winners included businesses, school districts, agriculture, retired state employees, the elderly/disabled/mentally ill, the state police, drivers, alcohol consumers, children, parks, the environment, and museums and historical groups. The losers were noted as: state employees, school districts, college students, agriculture.  Also losing are zoos, regional poison control centers, and those suffering from epilepsy, lupus, Tourette’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease—all support money for those areas has been eliminated.

Retired state employees will not face cuts to their pension benefits; and the budget also included $40 million in more funding to keep the elderly and disabled in their homes and community-based homes.  Museums and historical commissions also saw a slight increase in funding this year; but funding for zoos was zeroed out of the budget.

Public schools are getting $90 million in funding for basic education, the first increase since Corbett has taken office; but special education funding remains level.   College students may see a tuition increase after funding for state and state-related universities remained level.

Agriculture saw an increase in money for county fairs and farmland preservation but funding for food marketing and hardwoods research was eliminated.  State employees get a pay raise but may be required to work 40 hours a week instead of 37.5 hours; additionally new employees will be required to enter a cash-based pension plan.  Drivers will see increased funding for transportation and the fixing of the state’s decaying roads and bridges; though the lifting of the wholesale fuel tax may lead to higher prices at the pumps.

NCAA seeks dismissal of Corbett lawsuit

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the NCAA is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit recently filed by Governor Tom Corbett.  The Governor filed the lawsuit after the NCAA issued sanctions against Penn State University following the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.  The NCAA claims that Corbett does not have the “standing to challenge the sanctions.”  Penn State agreed to the sanctions; but Corbett filed the suit arguing that the NCAA did not have the authority to impose sanctions on the university over its mishandling of the abuse reported.  Also at issue has been the $60 million fine the NCAA imposed on PSU.  State lawmakers want to see that money stay in Pennsylvania; the NCAA has no intention of doing so, stating the money will be distributed throughout the country to programs preventing abuse or assisting victims.