Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby recently visited the Chamber briefing GPCC members on Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed $29.4 billion budget, presented to the legislature in early February. Zogby discussed that Governor Corbett’s 2014-15 Budget provides for a balanced budget that keeps spending in line with available revenues and does not raise taxes on Pennsylvania families and businesses.

Highlights from the Secretary’s detailed presentation:

• The proposed General Fund budget spends $29.4 billion – a 3.3 percent increase over 2013-14.

• The budget includes the Governor’s Building A Stronger Pennsylvania plan making strategic investments to address Pennsylvania’s three most urgent priorities:

JobsGrowing family-sustaining jobs with targeted investments to spur job creation and economic growth, expand job training programs and continue business tax reductions.

Education: Greater support for students, educators and schools, increased accountability and improved transparency backed by sizable investments of resources, including a $241 million Ready to Learn Block Grant.

Health Care: Implements Healthy Pennsylvania, a comprehensive plan to increase access to quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.

Other highlights include:

• Since Governor Corbett took office, Pennsylvania has increased private sector jobs by approximately 138,300.

• Continued phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax – a key policy priority of GPCC. The CSFT is eliminated beginning 2016 under the Governor’s plan.

• An Energy = Jobs strategy that invests more than $450 million in job training programs, and aligns with the Southeast Pennsylvania region’s energy sector workforce needs, as well as the Mayor’s Manufacturing Task Force.

• Passage this past fall of Pennsylvania’s transportation funding package will mean that $900 million will be invested in transportation improvements this year, $7.4 billion over the next five years. The transportation funding bill was a major policy priority of GPCC and its colleagues in the business and labor communities from east to west.