Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Few PA Budget Notes

Much more will be said about the governor's proposed budget but here are a few starters:

"Corbett’s budget: No tax hike, lots of spending cuts," by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden, Philly.com

"Pa. budget showdown: Waging middle-class warfare," op-ed by State Rep Tim Briggs

Remarks from State Rep. Steve Santarsiero:

State Rep. Steven J. Santarsiero, D-Bucks, today released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Corbett's 2011-12 budget address to the state legislature:

"We are at a turning point in Pennsylvania and throughout our country. The choices before us are stark: either we continue to invest to build a brighter future, or go backward, threatening our still weak economy and future opportunity for us and our children. I fear that the budget proposal outlined by Governor Corbett today takes the latter road.

"Particularly troubling to me are the following:

· A cut of $1.5 billion to education, K-12 plus higher education, including cuts of 50 percent to our colleges and universities such as Temple, Penn State and Pitt. The cuts to public schools will result either in a spike in property taxes or draconian cuts in education programs. The cuts to our colleges and universities will result in massive tuition increases at a time when our students can least afford them. Proposed cuts to Council Rock and Pennsbury school districts are $1.46 million and $1.44 million respectively.

· Further cuts to environmental protection, while giving the natural gas industry a pass that it gets nowhere else in the United States by not calling for a natural gas drilling tax. We need that revenue to protect the environment and to fund our education and transportation needs.

· No mention of our nearly $3.5 billion transportation infrastructure crisis. This is both an economic need – indeed, a dire need – as well as a public health and safety issue.

· A proposal to allow teachers to be fired to cut budgets because, he claims, schools must be run like businesses. Well, schools are NOT businesses. We don't discard children who are struggling. We work to teach them. Make no mistake: this proposal will do no more than create larger class sizes and a lower quality public school system.

"While I applaud the governor for his proposal to provide targeted tax cuts for research and development and for the growing film industry in Pennsylvania, I am deeply concerned about the direction in which this budget would take our Commonwealth."

State Rep. Josh Shapiro
Earlier today Gov. Tom Corbett presented his proposed FY2011-2012 state budget to the General Assembly. State Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, issued the following statement regarding the governor’s proposal:

“The numbers in the governor’s budget add up but the math doesn’t work for most Pennsylvanians. The governor’s self described ‘reality based budget’ is rooted more in political ideology than in meeting the real needs of Pennsylvanians. Cuts are no doubt necessary, but they ought to be done with careful thought and precision. The governor has not executed a single performance audit on any state program that he has proposed cutting.

“While this proposed budget may be balanced, in reality it shifts the burden to county and local governments. This budget fails to look forward and put Pennsylvania in a position to grow our economy and prepare for the next generation of leaders in our workforce. It also fails to address the serious shortfall in transportation and infrastructure needs that could threaten the safety of our residents.

“The Corbett budget cuts $1.5 billion in education funding from K-12 all the way up to our colleges and universities. These cuts threaten to end full day kindergarten, investments in critical technologies to aid learning, and may cause in-state tuition rates at Pennsylvania colleges and universities to rise. Locally, this budget will cut funding for Upper Dublin schools by 9.3 percent and slash Abington schools by 8.5 percent. We cannot compete in the 21st century economy and create jobs if we don’t effectively train our workforce of tomorrow. Balancing the budget on the backs of our children does not reflect my values.

“In his remarks today, the governor was largely silent on government reform, which is extremely disappointing. Improved transparency and accountability is critical to rooting out the causes of many of our problems in Pennsylvania government today that lead to wasteful spending. In fact, he made no mention of the fact that the legislative leaders continue to control a $188.5 million surplus—money that ought to be returned to the Pennsylvania taxpayers and not hoarded in Harrisburg.

“This budget fails to protect our environment by continuing to allow gas drillers to destroy our environment while taxpayers foot the bill for the drillers’ mess. Every other state with natural gas drilling protects taxpayers from paying for the damage created by drillers—Pennsylvania should not stand alone on this. This threatens our environment, infrastructure and public health.

“While I believe this budget is wrong on so many levels, I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to fix it and make sure it works for the people of Abington and Uppper Dublin, Montgomery County and Pennsylvania.”

1 comment:

phillydem said...

No one should be surprised at Corbett's fealty to the drilling industry. He was bought and paid for afterall.