Letter to the Editor: State Budget Offers Little to Smile About

July 19, 2012

The following letter to the editor by PBPC Director Sharon Ward responding to the recently enacted state budget has appeared in the Centre Daily TimesChambersburg Public OpinionJohnstown Tribune-Democrat, Lebanon Daily News, Lewistown SentinelLock Haven Express, Somerset Daily American, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, and York Daily Record. You can read Sharon'slonger commentary here.

To the Editor:

Governor Tom Corbett and lawmakers were all smiles when the new state budget was signed, but there is little to celebrate.

It maintains deep cuts to schools that have forced several into financial distress. It makes it harder for people who are sick or disabled to get by. And it shifts more responsibility and costs onto you, the local taxpayer.

Pennsylvania has already lost 14,000 jobs in public schools and universities, and this budget continues the trend. That is bad for our economy. 

State lawmakers deserve credit for restoring some of the worst cuts proposed by the governor and for innovative reforms that reduce prison costs by diverting non-violent offenders to more appropriate community settings.

But this budget also offers a new round of business tax cuts that come with no commitment to create jobs, and other tax breaks for well-connected interests. It fails to close corporate tax loopholes. And new tax credit programs siphon tax dollars away from public schools and human services, with little transparency or accountability for how those funds are spent.

Rather than building our economy, this budget continues to strangle it and compromise our children’s future. No one is smiling about that.

Sharon Ward
Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center