Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Corbett embraces a failed budgetary experiment

Today, Gov. Corbett presented his first budget proposal. Even with nearly no advanced details of the plan, the actual content of his address came as no surprise. The speech itself was long on ideological rhetoric and lean on the details of the cuts he actually plans on inflicting.

Corbett's budget is packed with pain for Pennsylvania's working families and seniors on fixed incomes, and rife with rewards for big business.

It will take time to determine the full extent of the negative impact his spending plan will have on the Commonwealth's communities. But one thing is clear many municipalities, counties and school districts will be burdened with slashing services and hiking taxes.

All we have to do to see the results of this tax shift experiment is look across the Delaware River to neighboring New Jersey.

In 2010, New Jersey guv and superstar among conservative pundits, Chris Christie introduced a budget with colossal cuts that had devastating effects on:
·       Local taxpayers: the average local tax hike statewide was 7%, 100 municipalities saw double digit increases;
·       School districts: $820 million cut forced larger class sizes, reversing a decades-old national trend of declining sizes;
·       Job seekers: in 2010 NJ had the lowest job growth of all 50 states
·       Public safety: cuts to municipalities have caused police and fire fighter layoffs, Camden's aggravated assaults with a gun are up 259% over last year

The budget plan presented today promises much of the same for the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania's future under this proposal will include: higher property taxes, more people in our emergency rooms for treatment, higher college debt, more personal bankruptcies due to medical expenses, bigger class sizes in our schools, and a shrunken middle class.

The governor has made his priorities clear the previous two months by allowing adultBasic to end and approving a perk for corporate cronies with $200 million bonus depreciation. These same misguided priorities are evident in the budget he delivered today.

I don't believe that Pennsylvania's seniors, taxpaying families and the Commonwealth's kids should bear the brunt of an unreasonable and likely, failed budget.