HARRISBURG, Pa., June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A bipartisan group of local officials from across Pennsylvania urged Gov. Corbett and lawmakers to reject pressure to enact new business tax cuts and instead restore funding to schools and county human services.
"Tax cuts will come at the expense of critically needed services that help Pennsylvania families and improve our communities," said Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia. "Whatever their merits, they are not affordable this year."
Commissioner Marseglia is one of 52 elected officials from both parties and all levels of local government to sign a letter to the governor urging him to restore budget cuts and delay tax cuts. The letter, delivered to the governor Friday and copied to state lawmakers, is just one of many actions taken by county, school and local officials in recent weeks rejecting deep cuts being considered in the budget.
In the letter, the local officials write that with state tax revenue recovering, priority should be given to restoring large cuts that will harm local government's ability to educate children and deliver prevention and treatment services.
The letter also objects to planned tax cuts, noting that reducing revenue will make it that much more difficult for the commonwealth to meet its responsibilities, shifting more of the costs to local communities. Scroll down to read the full letter.
"If anyone in Pennsylvania looks at this budget and thinks their taxes are going to go down, they need to take a second look," said Allegheny Controller Chelsa Wagner, who also signed the letter. "A tax cut in Harrisburg is a tax shift to local communities. Harrisburg has been doing it for years, and it has to stop."
Many counties, municipalities and school districts, struggling to balance budgets cut by the state, have enacted efficiencies and cut jobs to save money over the past year.
"We're asking Harrisburg to be as efficient and accountable as everyone else," said Northampton County Executive John Stoffa, who signed the letter. "We cannot jeopardize opportunities for the next generation of Pennsylvania citizens. We must continue to fund schools and social services for the people of the Commonwealth."
Gov. Corbett's proposed budget would maintain more than a billion dollars in cuts to public schools and universities enacted last year and eliminate $100 million in funding for Accountability Block Grants that support full-day kindergarten. It also makes a 20 percent cut to several proven county services for children, people with developmental disabilities, people who are receiving treatment, and the homeless.
The Senate adopted a budget that restores some of the governor's cuts but still preserves significant funding reductions to education and county human services and leaves money on the table by failing to close loopholes or delay planned business tax cuts.
"The timing couldn't be worse," said Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas, another signer. "It is unfair to ask our local residents to bear more responsibility for funding schools and social services. And it's ludicrous to hand out special tax breaks while cutting life-saving programs that are chronically underfunded to begin with."
To read the full letter, go to http://betterchoicesforpa.com/local-officials-tell-governor-delay-business-tax-cuts-restore-funding-schools-and-communities.
Learn more about the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition at http://betterchoicesforpa.com.
SOURCE Better Choices for Pennsylvania