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The Governor’s 2012-2013 State Budget Address – More Pain for the Middle Class

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This week’s budget address touched upon themes of responsibility and compassion. Unfortunately, the governor’s words are in bold contrast to the cold and painful reality behind the numbers contained in his 2012-13 budget.

Cutting funding to early childhood education programs, higher education, tuition assistance, and programs which help bring care and comfort to our veterans and disabled is not compassionate or responsible.

Pennsylvanians also value fairness – and fairness is something in short supply in the governor’s budget. For a second year, the budget sends the message that the middle class doesn’t matter. The governor has shown us where his priorities lie. Pursuing a Marcellus Shale policy which allows billion-dollar companies to get this resource at one of the lowest rates in the country does Pennsylvania a disservice. Big businesses get a break, but if you own a home, send a young child to a public school, or have a teenager going off to college, you take a hit. That is not fair. It is also not wise. Pennsylvania’s next generation is going to find it harder to get an education, get a job, and provide for their families. It won’t make our state appealing to anybody – not even big business.

Passing along tax increases to local governments in the form of higher property taxes is passing the buck. It is not responsible. Pennsylvanians know better.

The governor also announced another commission, this one to study post-secondary education. In one year in Pennsylvania, we have seen commissions meet, make recommendations, and move on. We can’t continue to talk about problems. We need to truly be responsible and do something to address these problems. Our roads and bridges don’t become safer and our public transit systems don’t improve through discussions. The time for talk is over.

In the coming months, we will do all we can to make the state budget a better reflection of Pennsylvanians’ priorities.

2012-13 Budget Breakdown


  • The $27.14 budget plan shifts tax increases to local taxpayers and spreads pain to seniors, students, children and working families.
  • Huge corporations and many of the governor’s special interest friends would once again avoid sharing any sacrifice. While taxes, fees, tuition and costs would escalate for working families, businesses continue to reap benefits to the tune of $275 million in new in tax reductions on top of more than $500 million in cuts last year.
  • The budget outlined by the governor would keep Pennsylvania going in the wrong direction. The plan would maintain stagnant funding at for the State Police and Corrections, and even cut funds for Veterans Homes by more than $6 million, but gives no forethought about the key issues that plague Pennsylvania.

Job Creation

  • The lack of focus on job creation by the Corbett Administration has resulted in funding cuts for key programs. Last year, Corbett cut more than $130 million from programs to create jobs. Further reductions are on the way.
  • This year’s proposed budget makes even deeper cuts that would put Pennsylvania even further behind job creation efforts in other states. Only one year ago we were a national leader, now we trail the nation in job creation.
  • Last year, the governor cut $15 million from job training programs. This year, he would slash further, and ignore tens of millions of dollars in federal funds that could train workers for real jobs.


  • The Corbett budget plan continues to slash K-12 education, including new cuts of nearly $400 million. It reduces funds for early learning programs and struggling students.
  • A $100 million cut for local school districts in this year’s budget would be in addition to the massive billion dollar cut last year.
  • The Corbett school funding plan is forcing property tax increases, program cuts, pay-to-play sports, and spikes in class size.

Higher Education

  • The Corbett budget slashes school funding for state-related schools such as Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln by 30%. This is in addition to the 19% cut last year.
  • The Corbett plan will put a college degree out of reach for even the most-promising young students.
  • State System schools such as Slippery Rock, California, IUP, Edinboro, Clarion and others would also suffer under this plan. It reduces state support by 20% which would be in addition to an 18% cut last year.


  • We need at least $2.5 billion in new revenues – according to the governor’s own commission -- to address the funding shortfall. The funding gap will grow to $7.2 billion in ten years if no action is taken. Action is needed now.
  • The Port Authority in Allegheny County faces unprecedented cuts; and many professionals who commute into the city will be hard-pressed to get to work in the morning and home in the evening.
  • There are 4,890 structurally deficient bridges in Pennsylvania, making safety a concern for all motorists – and making it even more disappointing that Gov. Corbett is failing to provide leadership at this desperate time.

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State Investment in Transportation Will Create Jobs, Support Commerce

Last week, I joined a number of my colleagues from Western PA to urge Governor Corbett to lead on transportation and mass transit funding. It has been six months now since Gov. Tom Corbett’s blue ribbon transportation commission released its final report. It is his responsibility to use that report as a guide and to make a decision where he wants to take Pennsylvania. So far we are only dealing with crumbling roads and weight-restricted bridges, which is undoubtedly an inconvenience. If nothing is done about our aging infrastructure, it will only get worse – putting lives at risk.

PennDOT statistics show that there are more than six million trips daily across Allegheny County bridges that are rated either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient, and more than 178,000 trips across bridges that have temporary supports or weight restrictions in place.

Transportation Press Conference

Allegheny County and legislative leaders gathered in Pittsburgh to call on the governor to lead
on transportation infrastructure and mass transit investment Pennsylvania.

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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