The Pennsylvania Legislature has approved a 2011-12 General Fund budget that makes deep cuts to education, health care and other cost-effective local services, while cutting taxes for business and leaving most of a $785 million revenue surplus untouched.
I issued the following statement today on the budget's passage:
The Legislature has adopted a budget that does less with more, cutting services to children while leaving most of a $785 million revenue surplus on the table.
The budget reflects a set of priorities that few Pennsylvanians share. It reduces the number of teachers in the classroom, raises college tuition, and increases local property taxes in order to meet an artificial spending number.
This budget provides tax breaks to businesses but cuts funding to homeless shelters and Meals on Wheels. It gives natural gas drillers a free pass, once again.
Pennsylvania’s economy grew more quickly than the nation in 2010, but that growth has begun to stall. Cutting jobs and services will have a ripple effect through our communities that will make a robust recovery even harder to achieve.
This budget fails to put people first. It continues a pattern in Harrisburg of balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable and shifting more state costs onto local taxpayers. That’s bad news for middle-class families, taxpayers and the economy.