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Budget Hearings Focus on Spending Proposals, Priorities for Coming Year, Pickett Says
3/2/2012
 
During a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 29, Rep. Tina Pickett asked Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch about the Governor’s Transportation Advisory Commission that studied the status of Pennsylvania’s highway and bridge infrastructure and the recommendations that were presented. 
HARRISBURG – As part of her duties on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) spent a second week in Harrisburg to hear more about and ask questions regarding the spending proposals of various state government agencies.

After the governor presents his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, members of the House Appropriations Committee, along with their counterparts in the Senate, sit down with the leaders of all state agencies and departments to learn about justifications for spending and to answer questions about their upcoming priorities.

“So far, we’ve had engaging discussions with the secretaries of Aging, Transportation, Revenue, Agriculture and Health, along with the Public Utility Commission to go over their spending for the new fiscal year,” Pickett said. “We are faced with another year of tight revenues and increasing demands on state services and programs. These hearings allow us to learn more and ask questions so that we can put together a state budget that best meets the needs of the people while being mindful of the taxpayers who are footing the bill.”

During the first week of hearings, the committee heard testimony from the Department of Revenue; state-related universities, such as Penn State, University of Pittsburgh and Temple University; and the Office of Attorney General. Testifiers from the newly formed Independent Fiscal Office indicated the total revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year will likely be between $500 million and $700 million.

To hear Pickett’s audio comments, click on this link: http://reppickett.com/Audio.aspx.

The second week of hearings focused on presentations from the Liquor Control Board and the departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, Health, Aging, Transportation and the Public Utility Commission.

“This week’s hearings were especially relevant because of my service on the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Transportation committees,” Pickett said. “My questions specifically focused on the local conservation districts and the changes in the duties and responsibilities for the upcoming year in an effort to find out more about the outreach and education for farmers. The transportation hearing largely focused on efforts to raise funds for a growing need to repair our aging road, highway and bridge infrastructure, and the attention that will need from the General Assembly.

“In addition, the hearing with the PUC afforded me the opportunity to ask about its plans to implement the new pipeline safety law and impact fee legislation that were recently enacted, along with the effects of falling natural gas prices on development in the Marcellus Shale,” she continued. “These hearings are valuable learning opportunities, and I consider it a privilege to be able to participate and to bring the concerns of the people of the 110th District to the very ears of those leading state government’s executive branch.”

Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a $27.1 billion budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year in early February, and lawmakers must adopt a final plan by June 30.

More information about the state budget proposal and hearings, including a complete archive of previous hearings, can be found online at www.RepPickett.com.

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
717.705.2094
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