Formulating a $31.9 billion budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a big undertaking. Putting together our annual budget is an essential part of my job as a state legislator and a responsibility I take very seriously. My philosophy, similar to most household budgets, is to “live within our means.” Simply put, I believe we should not spend more than we have available. In the case of the state, we have revenue that is generated each year in the form of taxes and fees and that is the money we can use to fund the budget.
On Feb. 4, Governor Tom Corbett set the annual state budget process into motion by giving a speech that highlighted the fiscal challenges facing the Commonwealth and outlined his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.
Legislators will take his suggestions into account as they craft the budget, but it is important to emphasize that the governor's proposal is only a starting point. The final product will undoubtedly change as legislators hold hearings to solicit input from the public and receive testimony from the leaders of state agencies.
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present a long overdue medal to a combat veteran from World War II. Pvt. Bernard Winzer should have been recognized decades ago for heroic actions he took during Black Devil's Assault Dec. 3, 1943. Unfortunately, due to an oversight, his valor would go unnoticed by officials until last spring.
It was then that a staffer from U.S. Senator Pat Toomey's office discovered Winzer was owed a Bronze Star. After much hard work, Toomey was able to secure the Bronze Star Award for the now 90-year-old man.