Two state House members were quick to issue statements on Sunday night criticizing Pennsylvania’s new $28.4 billion budget for underfunding education, and especially for ignoring the needs of the cash-strapped Philadelphia school district. Here are excerpts from their statements:
State Rep. John Sabatina D-174th dist.:
Pennsylvania’s school districts are currently facing a severe funding crisis and sadly this budget bill does little to help them address these pressing issues. Philadelphia is being hit especially hard and many schools have been forced to lay off thousands of teachers and staff, cut programs and extracurricular activities and in some instances raise property taxes.
The biggest source of funding we’re still missing out on is a reasonable severance tax on Marcellus Shale, just as nearly every other gas-producing state has. The revenue generated could go a long way in properly funding education, health and human services and other state programs that are currently struggling. Unfortunately there remains little interest from the governor in taking advantage of the funding this resource can provide.
State Rep. Ed Neilson
Philadelphia schools are about to lay off 4,000 employees and the Republicans here in Harrisburg can’t be bothered to fix that devastating situation. Schools are going to lose key personnel and our children are going to suffer because of it.
Neilson said that while education has suffered in Corbett’s budgets, big businesses have received more than $1 billion in tax breaks.
I believe that creating an environment in our state for businesses to prosper is important and vital, but this is just more of Corbett’s corporate welfare. There is a middle ground on these issues, but their refusal to bring us to the negotiating table shows a lack of leadership on Corbett’s part. ••