- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Corbett may be trying to broaden his appeal to voters with his latest budget plan, but Democrats hoping to unseat him say it didn’t change their minds.

Corbett presented lawmakers with a $29.4 billion proposal on Tuesday that would increase funding for schools and social services. Cuts to those areas helped balance his first two budgets.

Five candidates for the Democratic nomination - John Hanger, Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, Allyson Schwartz and Tom Wolf - said the proposal won’t make up the loss from Corbett’s $1 billion-plus cut in education spending in 2011.

“He seems to be recognizing the overwhelming clarion call to do something more for public education,” said McCord, the state treasurer, calling the latest proposals “too little too late.”

Wolf, a York businessman and former state revenue secretary, called Corbett’s plan for an expanded block grant program and other funding increases for public schools disingenuous.

“All of sudden education is now important in a way that (it) wasn’t,” he said.

Schwartz, a congresswoman from the Philadelphia suburbs, said Corbett’s proposals amount to “stale policy” and lamented the absence of any proposal for overhauling the public school funding formula.

The latest budget is “not a remedy to where he’s led education for the last three years,” she said.

Hanger, a former state environmental protection chief and utility regulator, criticized Corbett for level-funding higher education, which he said plays a vital role in creating jobs.

“Flat-lining is a cut,” he said.

McGinty, who preceded Hanger as head of the Department of Environmental Protection in Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration, said Corbett “can read the polls and knows that he’s in serious trouble” because of inadequate public school funding.



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