January 28, 2013

Corbett's false budget choices distract from key priorities for Pennsylvanians

Recent reports about Gov. Tom Corbett's plans for his Feb. 5 budget address to the General Assembly show that he is trying to force legislators to make a false choice about the Commonwealth's spending priorities.

PSEA President Mike Crossey pointed out that the governor's recent public comments indicate that he is prepared to threaten state funding for the public schools and other essential state services if he is unable to achieve progress on a menu of controversial policy goals.

“It looks like the governor is ready to hold Pennsylvania's students and taxpayers hostage if he doesn't get his way on other issues,” Crossey said. “After nearly $1 billion in public school funding cuts, we need solutions, not political threats.”

Crossey emphasized that the governor's unprecedented school funding cuts have forced school districts to increase class sizes, curtail tutoring programs, and eliminate nearly 20,000 education jobs. A PSEA research report, Sounding the Alarm, (available at www.psea.org/soundingthealarm), indicates that the school funding crisis will continue to worsen unless funding is restored.

“The governor's school funding cuts have dug a hole so deep that school districts are struggling to find a way out – and students are the ones who are suffering,” Crossey said. “The governor needs to start filling that hole and solving this problem. Pennsylvanians can't allow the governor to play politics with funding decisions that impact vital services for all Pennsylvanians."

Crossey added that controversial Corbett proposals to privatize the state liquor stores and attack public employees' retirement benefits will not improve the state budget picture. At the same time, the governor has rejected popular revenue-generating initiatives, like levying fair taxes on natural gas drillers and corporations that pay little, if any, taxes.

“The governor's proposals won't generate new revenues and they won't save the state money, period,” Crossey said. “Pennsylvanians should not let the governor's political agenda distract them from what is really important in the state budget: students, families, and taxpayers.

“If all Pennsylvanians focus on what's important, we can solve the school funding crisis, balance the budget, and pay for the vital services all Pennsylvanians need,” Crossey said. “We can't be distracted by the false choices and controversial goals of the governor who put us in this situation in the first place.”

Learn more about the impact of the governor's school funding cuts on individual school districts at www.psea.org/schoolcuts.







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