HARRISBURG, Pa., July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenue (CLEAR Coalition), an unprecedented coalition of labor organizations representing over 1.1 million hardworking Pennsylvania families, expressed significant concern about the final 2010-2011 state budget adopted today by the General Assembly.
"It is disheartening that lawmakers chose to balance this year's budget on the backs of some of Pennsylvania's most vulnerable individuals like our senior citizens, children, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities rather than enacting common sense tax reforms," said Rick Bloomingdale, President of the PA AFL-CIO.
The CLEAR Coalition believes lawmakers should support long-term revenue solutions, instead of relying only on dramatic cuts to essential public services and consumer protections in order to balance the state budget. Unfortunately, the 2010-2011 state budget adopted by the General Assembly today did not close tax loopholes or remove nonsensical exemptions for wealthy corporations.
The budget agreement does include a commitment to enact a severance tax on removal of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale reserve in Pennsylvania by October 1, but this promise of a future severance tax does not go far enough to establish tax fairness in Pennsylvania nor protect against further significant cuts for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
"The state budget adopted today requires job cuts that will remove vital state services and protections. These cuts will reach into the life and home of every Pennsylvanian," said David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13.
The CLEAR Coalition also expressed concern about the need to ensure that Pennsylvania's congressional delegation help secure federal Medicaid assistance (FMAP) to avoid future cuts. In addition, there was frustration with the lack of any final action on the pension reform legislation currently in the state Senate. The looming pension crisis, if unaddressed, places additional significant economic pressures on the budget that could result in further cuts to essential programs.
Recognizing that the 2010-2011 state budget falls short of the principles espoused by the CLEAR Coalition, Kathy Jellison, President of SEIU Local 668 stated "as a Coalition of over 1.1 million hardworking Pennsylvanians, we stand united and ready to work with our federal and state lawmakers – and the next governor of Pennsylvania – in support of a sustainable budget approach that includes enhancing revenues, making taxes fairer, preventing harmful cuts to essential public services and saving jobs."
SOURCE CLEAR Coalition