Missions Accomplished, Says Oberlander:  Tax-Free, Balanced State Budget and Tort Reform Put Pennsylvania on Right Track for More Jobs

Following up on her vote in the House this week to adopt the Fair Share Act (Senate Bill 1131), Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong) tonight cast a vote in favor of the final 2011-12 state budget (House Bill 1485). 

“Tort reform and tax relief, these are two economic ingredients that are essential to transforming Pennsylvania into a statewide opportunity zone where job-creating businesses want to move to, rather than flee from,” said Oberlander.   “With the signing of the Fair Share Act into law and final passage of this historic, on-time, tax-free and balanced 2011-12 state budget Pennsylvania has taken several monumental steps forward in completing the mission of creating an economic climate ripe for jobs.”   

Containing no tax increases, no new borrowing and totaling $27.1 billion, which is slightly lower than the original $27.3 billion spending limit set by Gov. Tom Corbett’s March budget proposal, specific 2011-12 state budget details include:   

  • $1.17 billion (4.1 percent) spending reduction from the 2010-11 state budget.   Passage of the 2011-12 state budget represents only the third time in nearly 40 years that state government will be spending less than the previous fiscal year. 
  • More than 34 percent of total budget spending goes to PreK-12 education—the $5.35 billion basic education subsidy represents the single largest investment of state tax dollars for public education in state history. 
  • Total higher education funding for community colleges, state-related universities and the state System of Higher Education, including Clarion University, is $1.6 billion. 
  • $404 million in House Republican proposed reductions to the governor’s originally proposed Department of Welfare (DPW) budget, including the incorporation of Oberlander’s welfare reform legislation (House Bill 1301) to implement new administrative guidelines and fraud prevention restrictions for Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Transportation Program.    All totaled, DPW will receive $10.5 billion under the new General Fund budget. 
  • Restoration of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax phase-out to provide Pennsylvania’s job creators with approximately $70 million in needed tax relief. 
  • Elimination or combination of nearly 100 wasteful, non-essential or duplicative line-items and government programs. 
  • Absolutely zero-funding for so-called WAMs or “walking around money” previously made available to the governor, Legislature and politically connected special interests. 
  • $50 million will be returned to the General Fund from the emergency reserve funds of the House and Senate.  

Signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on June 28 and aimed at protecting taxpayers, job creating employers and the medical community from frivolous lawsuits, the Fair Share Act reforms Pennsylvania’s joint and several liability law by ensuring that defendants found negligent or liable for an injury are responsible for only their fair share of the damages. 

“Passage of both the Fair Share Act and this fiscally responsible state budget sends the message that Pennsylvania is serious about retaining and attracting employers to create more family sustaining jobs,” said Oberlander.    “I look forward to continuing to work with the pro-business, pro-jobs Republican majority and Governor Corbett to complete the heavy lifting that needs to be done to revive the state’s economy, and most importantly, reduce the overall economic burden and level of government interference on working families and job-creating employers.” 

For the latest legislative updates, visit RepOberlander.com or Facebook.com/RepOberlander

State Representative Donna Oberlander
63rd District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Ty McCauslin

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