The Morning File: We found the secrets in the state budget, unless it's just trash
July 2, 2012 4:00 AM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signs the state budget late Saturday in Harrisburg.
By Gary Rotstein
We went looking for a copy of Pennsylvania's new budget, which, as always, received barely a peep of public discussion after the Harrisburg power-brokers who created it determined it should be passed with the speed of Andrew McCutchen sprinting for third on a triple.
One of the Morning File's summer interns found a pile of paper that looks like it could be a copy of the 2012-13 state budget, smudged with cheese and sauce from a Sbarro's pizza, in a trash can at a Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza. We don't know if it's the budget that the Republican-controlled Legislature passed, but here are some of its allocations that we don't recall reading about in any news stories:
Page 27: $1.4 million to the Pittsburgh Opera for security enhancements that will protect its staff and any government officials it is honoring -- such as, say, a governor and his wife -- from rowdy protesters at future events.
Page 79: $800,000 to the state prison system to add espresso machines at each of its facilities, at the request of numerous state lawmakers recently added to the ranks of those incarcerated.
Page 143: $250,000 to finance a public-private partnership involving Jake's Jitney Service to see if Jake can capably transport thousands of Port Authority commuters expecting on Sept. 1 to lose the routes they have long depended on to get to work, doctors, shopping, etc.
Page 180: $12.2 million to Penn State University's physics department to sponsor development of a time travel machine that enables school officials to flip a switch to go back a dozen or so years whenever they want and alter any decisions, or non-decisions, they made at the time.
Page 224: $50 million to finance a new tax credit program, called the Stinky Business Incentivation Jobs & Pollution Creator, that will be designed especially for attraction to the state of industries that people don't want within a mile of their homes.
Page 301: $1,675,000 to cover legal fees in a suit against the Miss America and Miss USA pageants accusing them of conspiracy, collusion and cheating, by virtue of the fact that Miss Pennsylvania never seems to even come close to winning either of those.
Page 452: $1 million to the producers of "The Dark Knight Rises" to cover post-production special effects editing that will remove Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and insert Gov. Tom Corbett into his coveted role as a football placekicker in the explosive scene shot at Heinz Field.
Page 666: $6.66 million for a Pennsylvania Lottery advertising campaign warning the state's residents about the potential dangers of gambling in a casino, or anywhere other than at a lottery outlet.
Page 1,010: $800,000 to purchase and burn all available copies of ex-Gov. Ed Rendell's new book, "A Nation of Wusses."
Page 1,679: $17.5 million to increase operations of the Pennsylvania National Guard, beefing up its manpower and training so it can assist off-duty Pittsburgh police officers in maintaining order on Carson Street on Friday and Saturday nights.
Page 2,332: $2,000 for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to retake its 2012 class photo of the sitting justices, without Joan Melvin Orie this time.
Page 3,690: $300,000 to the Pittsburgh Film Office to help it lure the FX network to develop and locate a new sitcom here, called "It's Always Not Sunny in Pittsburgh (Or At Least It Wasn't Before 2012)" to air after a Philadelphia-based show of similar title.
Page 7,725: $500,000 to Tess Lojacono of East Aurora, N.Y., (winner of Pittsburgh's Experienced Dreamers contest that provided a $100,000 reward to a creative person willing to move here) to entice her to move instead to a rural, Republican-dominated section of Pennsylvania instead, thus bolstering the GOP's new reapportionment of legislative districts.
Page 9,107: Four dollars and 25 cents for acquisition of a used copy at yard sale of "Groundhog Day" for the state's Executive Mansion, as it's a film that has never once failed to make the governor and first lady laugh, especially that scene in which Bill Murray's character coldcocks Ned Ryerson.