HARRISBURG, Pa., June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The over 1.1 million families represented by the PA CLEAR Coalition expressed outrage at the state budget signed earlier today by Governor Corbett. The spending plan developed by the Governor and House and Senate Republican leaders fails the children, senior citizens, and hard working families of Pennsylvania.
“Members of the General Assembly need to understand the consequences of this budget and what it will mean to the families they have been elected to represent,” said David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 and Chair of the CLEAR Coalition. “This budget hurts school children, seniors and working families while at the same time giving a free ride to gas drillers, CEOs and tobacco companies.”
Rather than shared sacrifice and tough choices for all, it represents only pain for families in the Commonwealth. The budget agreement cuts funding for public schools by almost one billion dollars, cuts funding to our public universities, reduces maternal and child health programs and other critical services. While there will be thousands of employees laid off throughout the Commonwealth as a result of this budget, the financial interests of powerful corporations and big donors of the Governor will prevail. This budget does not require gas drillers to pay their fair share of taxes for the natural resource they are taking from Pennsylvania nor does it return the almost $700 million in taxpayer revenue back to the local taxpayer and local communities to restore the painful cuts in health care and education.
“It makes no sense to cut food pantries, job training and drug and alcohol programs, while giving corporations a tax cut,” said Kathy Jellison, President of SEIU 668. “Governor Corbett and his colleagues are ignoring the real needs of Pennsylvanians and they are doing it while sitting on almost $700 million in taxpayer dollars that should be returned to communities across the state.”
State budgets are about setting priorities and about sometimes making tough choices. Governor Corbett and Republican legislative leaders obviously made a choice to ignore the needs of the poor, the struggling, and the sick and reward the interests of corporations.
"This budget is a step backwards for Pennsylvania. School districts will be forced to cut core programs and impose layoffs, which will hurt the quality of education students receive," said Jim Testerman, President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
The members of CLEAR – AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, PSEA, APSCUF, FFA, UFCW and PFT – have mounted a statewide grassroots campaign to mobilize Pennsylvanians in the fight for a fair budget that is not balanced on the backs of the poor and the middle class.
"Lawmakers have an opportunity and a responsibility to use the $700 million surplus, close corporate tax loopholes and enact a tax on the Marcellus Shale to prevent some of these devastating cuts," said Rick Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.
SOURCE CLEAR Coalition