ABOVE PHOTO: State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s second budget address unveiled before a joint session of General Assembly Tuesday.
“Policies implemented unilaterally by the Corbett administration last year like bonus depreciation and education cuts that resulted in 14,000 unemployed educators have cost the Commonwealth over $250 million, deepening our state’s deficit and hindering our economic recovery,” Sturla said. “While Pennsylvania’s families continue to struggle the administration and its allies have argued that more tax breaks for big business, combining budget line items as a smokescreen for cuts and reducing support to our local governments will spur the intensified job growth and retention the GOP has incessantly promised.
“Similar to 2011, the administration asserts that this is a tax-free budget – guess again, every corner of the Commonwealth was hit by local tax hikes as a result of last year’s cuts, and thousands of Pennsylvanians were laid off. Our residents simply cannot endure those deep cuts again. And this on the same day he lauds a new, yet inadequate ‘tax’ on Marcellus Shale.
“With the deteriorating condition of Pennsylvania’s roadways and bridges, Governor Corbett cannot continue his path of inaction regarding transportation funding. Without making important investments in our state’s transit, we’ll fail to attract new businesses. Additionally improving our infrastructure would create over a hundred thousand jobs in our rural and urban communities over the next decade. Everyone, with the apparent exception of the governor, from the Transportation secretary to the Pennsylvania Chamber to labor groups agree: roads and bridges must be a priority.
“The governor has spent too much time poking holes in the Commonwealth’s social safety net by eliminating and downsizing the programs that our states’ most vulnerable residents are increasingly depending on. Forty-two thousand working adults off adultBasic; 88,000 children cut from Medical Assistance; and forcing Pennsylvania families to impoverish themselves in order to qualify for food assistance: these are the hallmarks of Governor Corbett’s first year. And now he has proposed deeper cuts under the guise of ‘flexibility’ for counties in providing services.
“Governor Corbett remains steadfast on reversing the extraordinary academic progress our students made prior to his taking office by again underfunding public education at unprecedented levels. With 40 children in a classroom, less access to technological tools and less space available in afterschool programs how can Pennsylvania cultivate the next generation of innovators or even compete for jobs in today’s global economy?”