Corbett’s budget: A beginning

Gov. Tom Corbett’s first budget blueprint has been filed. And the teeth-gnashing has begun. Next up, plenty of machinations from those who oppose it (Democrats, liberals, unions and the taxpayer-teat addicted) and the sausage-making from the Legislature (controlled by the governor’s own Republican Party but still not expected to be a tidy production).

Two thoughts:
• Higher-education subsidies take a big hit and the whining and doomsday predictions have begun. At Penn State, the word “catastrophic” was thrown out, as was the specter of higher tuition. At Pitt, “significant” tuition hikes were predicted, too. But it has been taxpayer subsidies that have given higher education consistent cover for repeatedly jacking up tuition rates far in excess of inflation. A phrase of advice to the educratic establishment — suck it up. The language might be inartful but the stridency is apropos.

• Perhaps the most disappointing Corbett proposal is to save the Film Tax Credit, a dubious $60 million line item. As Jake Haulk of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy puts it, “If those (tax) breaks are so great, why not have the state ask for a share of the profits of the films made here? If taxpayers are going to invest, they need to be rewarded with real returns as opposed to made-up estimates of ‘economic activity’ resulting from the filmmaking.”
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