On March 8th, Governor Corbett unveiled his 2011-12 budget proposal. And true to his campaign pledge, he proposed to raise not a single tax – not even on natural gas extraction. Instead, Corbett’s budget contains deep and widespread cuts to most departments and services for all Pennsylvanians. In June, Pennsylvania will run out of the $2.6 billion federal stimulus funds that helped balance previous budgets. Instead of proposing a balanced approach to deal with the $4 billion deficit, Corbett is opting to balance the budget on the backs of working families.
Below are the five hardest hit on Corbett’s chopping block his if $27.3 billion spending plan is approved:
- K-12 education: an elimination of nearly $550 million in basic education funding and, to compensate, a one-year salary freeze for all public school employees, (which would save up to $400 million). Local school districts would have an easier time furloughing employees when funding falls short.
- Higher education: $650 million cuts to higher education; funding for state and state-related schools to be slashed in half.
- State jobs: the elimination of 1,500 state jobs through a mix of layoffs and attrition. Hit particularly hard would be the Department of Public Welfare, particularly its mental health services division, which would see 1,200 jobs lost.
- Economic and community development: $114 million in proposed cuts to The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (a 32% budget reduction).
- Environmental protection: Funding would drop from $147 million to $140 million, even as the EPA has ordered tighter monitoring of Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling industry.
We must stand up for our patients and working families across Pennsylvania and send Governor Corbett the message that corporations, including gas extraction companies, must pay their fair share to sustain PA’s quality public services.
Stay tuned for ways to act!