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Pennsylvania Budget Signed Minutes Before Deadline

(File photo of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.)

(File photo of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.)

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HARRISBURG, Pa (CBS) - For the first time in nine years, Pennsylvania has a finished budget in place as the new fiscal year dawns. But it went right down to the wire last night.

Final legislative action on the budget actually came Wednesday night, but Governor Corbett did not sign the budget until a few minutes before the midnight deadline last night because budget companion bills were not finished and because he insisted on another bill that will make it harder for school districts to raise property taxes.

“I think we’re back on track,” Corbett said. “I think Pennsylvania is prepared to grow, to grow jobs all over Pennsylvania and I would hope that next year, when we’re here, we would see tremendously more revenues.”

His budget prompted tuition hikes at state-owned universities and makes significant cuts to education.

“As predicted, people say ‘well this is just going to cause tax increases at the local level’. I believe we need to give the citizens of Pennsylvania in the school districts the ability to voice their opinion.”

Under Pennsylvania law, school districts must get voter approval for tax increases above the rate of inflation… but there were numerous exemptions. Now the list of reasons why districts can seek exemption from a tax referendum will be shorter.

The new budget reduces spending and does not raise taxes, which Corbett is particularly proud of.

“I believe when we produce a budget balanced on time, where we show to the nation that we were able do that, live within our means, that Pennsylvania is open for business. We are going to stimulate an economy.”

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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