THE BIG PICTURE:
— An overall decrease in spending of about 3 percent.
— About $27.3 billion in taxes, fees and other state revenue.
— No increase in the state income or sales tax.
— Projected general revenue growth of $1.1 billion, or more than 4 percent, in 2011-12, including transfers from the national tobacco settlement and other special funds.
— A projected $586 million surplus at the June 30 end of the fiscal year.
— The continuation of the scheduled phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax on businesses, now scheduled to expire in 2014. The rate drops from 2.89 mills in 2011 to 1.89 mills in 2012.
— No tax on natural gas drilling.
— A 52 percent reduction, or $625 million, for the 14 state-owned universities in the of Higher Education, plus Pitt, Temple, Penn State and Lincoln.
— A 10 percent reduction, of $550 million, in funding for K-12 instruction in public schools.
— The elimination of $484 million in “accountability” grants for public schools and reimbursements to school districts for the loss of students who transfer to charter schools.
— A 7 percent increase to $11.2 billion for the Department of Public Welfare, which includes health care for the poor, child care and services for the disabled.
— $1.95 billion, no change, for the Corrections Department.
— A 9 percent increase, to $1.1 billion, for debt service payments.
— 1,550 state positions eliminated, including 1,211 from the Department of Public Welfare
— Creation of the Liberty Loan Fund, to consolidate existing private-sector financing programs, and Pennsylvania First, a $25 million competitive grant program.
Who will pay for this irresponsible budget? You and me through property tax increases!