Finance - May 31, 2013

Transporting Pennsylvania to the next level: Corbett pushes for transportation funding

On Thursday, Governor Corbett pushed for a deal on transportation funding next to Interstate 83 in Cumberland County this week.  Corbett express his strong support for the House to pass a funding plan before the June 30th budget deadline. During the roadside press conference, the Governor highlighted two options for transportation: either adopt his $1.8 billion plan or the $2.5 billion plan of Senate Bill 1. In order to accrue additional funding for roads, bridges, and mass transit the plan would call for an increase in gasoline taxes and fees. Pennsylvania's transportation infrastructure has been criticized as being some of the worst in the nation, influencing the state's ability to support and sustain business. The press conference was specifically addressed towards House Republicans, who are apprehensive about the additional burden of heightened gas prices. House leaders, such as House Whip Stan Saylor, R-York, have been reported being open to moving the plan forward if the Senate is more receptive to passing the liquor privatization act.


Furloughs kick in, employees kicked out

Spending cuts brought on by the federal sequestration is adding Pennsylvania workers to the federal furlough list and affecting their lives in every sense. Of the 750,000 state-wide civilian employees that will be added to the furlough list, 5,956 along will be coming from four of Pennsylvania’s Department of Defense facilities: the U.S. Army College, Fort Indiantown Gap, Letterkenny, and Cumberland Army Depot. The Department of Defense is resorting to furloughs because the DOD is expected to trim $500 billion from its budget over the next 10 years. Unfortunately, this loss of income for the employees will also be affecting local small businesses indirectly. Losing 20 hours of wages per week will hinder the spending tendencies of the DOD employees that they would normally have cycled into the local businesses.

Two different reactionary cases have risen in the news in regards to the furloughs.  Letterkenny representative Lindsay Bryant noted that, “morale among workers is good” even after receiving their notices. While at the Cumberland Army Depot a contrary reaction has been present. Williams Hall, a Depot representative, explains that “stress has been building up and it has caused people to lash out.” But what employees from both facilities can agree on is that the sequestration is targeting the wrong people and that there are other solutions available. DOD employers and their local businesses will need to be properly educated to be prepared for the day to day changes they may face after furloughs take effect from June 8 to September 8.