If Gov. Tom Corbett had created a good budget designed to generate revenue and put the commonwealth on stable financial footing, then he would have sought to raise revenue and would not have borrowed millions from the Pennsylvania Lottery fund. Two no-brainer revenue raisers readily available are Medicaid expansion and an extraction tax on the Marcellus Shale drillers. We are the only state that does not have an extraction tax on the drillers, and a 5 percent tax could have generated upward of $425 million in revenue.
In terms of Medicaid expansion, if we had opted in from the beginning, we would not have lost as much money as we have, and we continue to lose money as we wait for a decision to be made regarding Mr. Corbett’s Healthy PA plan. Because of our delay to expand Medicaid, Pennsylvania has left more than $400 million on the table, and a half-million working Pennsylvanians remain uninsured. The money for Medicaid expansion was 100 percent federally funded and is until 2016, when it would be federally funded by 90 percent thereafter. It is sad that 25 percent of the general population qualifies for Medicaid to begin with, so clearly whether or not unemployment rates are down nationally or just at the state level, there are underlying issues that still need to be addressed.
To me, Gov. Corbett hasn’t really accomplished anything other than signing a bad budget … and this year he didn’t even get to brag about doing that by June 30.
LINDA M. WARMAN
First Published July 24, 2014 8:00 PM