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State Lawmakers Respond to Governor's Budget Plan

State lawmakers were quick to react Tuesday to Governor Tom Corbett's 2014-2015 proposed spending plan.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett laid out his proposed budget for next year Tuesday morning in Harrisburg.

As he faces record-low poll numbers, the governor is making education, jobs and pension reform some of his top priorities.

"We have a responsibility to give the children of this state a 21st century education," Governor Tom Corbett said.

After hearing the governor's plan to increase special education funding $20 million and help kids go to college, members of his own party and even the opposition gave him credit.

"I was pleased to hear some of the targeted investments that he has for education, special education, early childhood," State Senator Lisa Baker of the 20th District said.

"As a father of young children, I'm glad to see that he's thinking about their future however we're lacking in funding for school safety and basic education overall," State Representative Kevin Haggerty of the 112th District said.

That is about where the praise ended.

Some democrats called the speech nothing more than an election-year gimmick.

"It's well reported that he hired a political speech writer to craft this speech and so we got a political speech rather than a budget address," State Senator John Yudichak of the 14th District said.

"We must be good stewards and ensure that every dollar we invest in this budget has a purpose," Governor Tom Corbett said.

The governor is also looking for the state to get $75 million in new money from natural gas leases on state lands and forests. That move will no doubt spark controversy but State Senator Gene Yaw believes it can work.

"The drilling that has already gone on in the state forest in my district occupies less than two percent," State Senator Yaw said. "That's pipelines, well pads, roads and everything so managed properly I think it can co-exist."

While education is the clear winner in the governor's budget, democrats say there are also a lot of potential losers.

"The Department of Agriculture is taking some hits here, the Department of Health," State Senator John Blake from the 22nd District said. "Emergency management is taking some hits, veterans programs are taking some hits. I just don't feel the connection between some of the words and some of the numbers."
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