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Governor's Budget Balanced on the Backs of Working Families

       It was all about the numbers in Harrisburg this week as Gov. Tom Corbett presented to legislators his budget plan for 2011-2012 – a plan that left many to question his priorities and the real impact of his proposed spending cuts.

       Most significantly, the governor’s budget calls for dramatically reduced spending for education, including a $550 million reduction in the basic education subsidy to local school districts and a 50 percent cut in funding for state-owned and state-related universities.

       I recognize that these are tough economic times, but much of his budget proposal falls far short of the stated goal of equally sharing the pain of reduced spending. This budget merely gives big business a pass and puts the burden on our school children and working families.

       One of my biggest concerns with this proposal is that such a disproportionate cut in education funding will result in a tax shift to overburdened homeowners and higher tuition rates for families already struggling to pay for college.

      Specifically, Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal dramatically reduces basic education spending by more than a billion dollars, including a $550 million basic subsidy cut. If you take all students into consideration, from K through college, the cuts climb to the $2 billion mark. The plan also eliminates the Accountability Block Grant which many districts rely upon to fund their early childhood and pre-K programs.

       And the governor’s proposal to cut $662 million from Higher Education includes a 50 percent reduction in state aid for state-related universities, bringing Pennsylvania back to 1985-86 fiscal year funding levels.

       Proposed education cuts termed 'catastrophic'

       This proposal devastates education in the Commonwealth, and legislators must now work together to make sure this aspect of the budget is carefully addressed.

       Click here to read more on what Gov. Corbett's cuts to higher education could mean.

       We must also work to make sure that necessary budget cuts and spending priorities are balanced and fair to all Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, Gov. Corbett’s budget plan fails to pass that test.

Gov. Corbett's Budget Proposal
Working families and students
pay the price
Continued tax cuts and tax loopholes for corporations
  • $1.1 billion from basic education, forcing teacher layoffs and larger class sizes
  • 50 percent cut for state-owned and state-related universities (Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, IUP and others), resulting in higher tuition for working families
  • $114 million in cuts for community and economic development programs
  • Eliminates funding for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
  • No mention of restoring the adultBasic program, 40,000 working Pennsylvanians lose health insurance coverage
  • $80 million tax break for phase-out of Capital Stock & Franchise tax
  • No severance tax on wealthy Marcellus Shale gas drilling companies
  • Restoration of tax credit suspensions, a $40 million business tax cut
  • No closure of Delaware Loophole that enables 73 percent of big corporations to continue paying nothing
  • Accelerated Depreciation for capital assets - $200 million tax break

       There are real challenges facing the Commonwealth that require long-term vision and sacrifice, but we should not balance the budget on the backs of Pennsylvania’s working families and children. As the budget process moves forward, I will work with the governor and my colleagues in the House and Senate to restore balance and fairness in the Pennsylvania budget.

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        For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook. Facebook





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