State House members react to new budget

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 

D-169th dist.:

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. ••

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