Evans: Budget bludgeoning of schools and taxpayers must end
ABOVE PHOTO: School protest at South Philadelphia High School over merging of South Phila. HS and Bok Technical HS.
(Photo: Teresa Emerson--SUN)
HARRISBURG--State Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Phila., recently said education and local taxpayers no longer can take the brunt of short-sighted budget policies emanating from Harrisburg.
“We used to caution that the quality of education should not depend on a student’s zip code,” Evans said. “Today, just living in Pennsylvania raises questions about the quality of education that can be provided in the commonwealth because of budget cuts in Harrisburg and the bludgeoning of local taxpayers.”
Evans said gimmicky proposals to boost public education funding by $10 million would not stop the hemorrhaging of public education because of the nearly $1 billion in cuts made to public education since Gov. Tom Corbett took office.
“The Philadelphia School District is facing a $300 million shortfall and is considering new taxes and tax increases while cutting programs like band and sports,” Evans said. “However, Philadelphia’s woes are emblematic of the entire state.”
Evans said 70 percent of the Pennsylvania’s public school districts have been forced to raise property taxes while cutting programs and tens of thousands of teachers as state support for education has dwindled from 44 percent to 32 percent since Corbett took office.
“Eviscerating funding while evading Pennsylvania’s constitutional mandates to provide thorough and efficient public education is not prudent fiscal policy,” Evans said. “It is divisive and dumb.
“Demanding accountability from public education is prudent,” Evans said. “Denying it the means to be accountable is a cruel hoax on our students, our taxpayers and our futures.”
Evans said the full range of the state’s broad-based taxes – sales, income and corporate – should be eyed as means to support public education.
“When local taxes are skyrocketing across the commonwealth to pay for education, and Pennsylvania can’t adequately fund vital programs, it makes little sense to offer further corporate tax cuts,” Evans said. “It is nonsensical that our schools wither while infamous corporate tax loopholes remain in favor in Pennsylvania.
“The priority should be restoring education to sound footing and taking the budget heel off its neck and that of local taxpayers,” Evans said.
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