Statement: Governor’s Budget Has Wrong Priorities on Education

HARRISBURG, PA (March 8, 2011) — Governor Tom Corbett unveiled a budget plan today that takes direct aim at education, which will result in lost jobs, higher property taxes and tuition hikes for college students.

Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, issued the following statement on the Governor’s proposal:

“The Governor’s budget increases funding for prisons, while cutting public schools by $1 billion and slashing support for Penn State and other colleges and universities in half. This reflects the wrong priorities for Pennsylvania.

“By taking direct aim at schools and higher education, the Governor’s plan disregards a fundamental principle of economic growth — businesses locate and expand in states with an educated workforce and academic centers of innovation.

“There is a better choice. Lawmakers can choose to take a more balanced approach that makes targeted cuts, improves accountability and raises revenue.

“This budget asks Pennsylvanians to pay more — in higher property taxes and tuition — while giving corporations more tax breaks, with no accountability. It fails to ask gas and tobacco companies to pay their share of taxes.

“Governor Corbett said we should make Pennsylvania the Texas of the natural gas boom. I agree. Texans tax their gas drillers — and use the funds to support public schools, among other services — and so should Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania took a balanced approach to the budget after the last two recessions, and job growth remained strong. In recent years, New Jersey made hundreds of millions in cuts to schools, drove up property taxes and ranked dead last in 2010 job growth. The better choice is clear.”