Monday, June 25, 2012

You decide...

Every year countless groups visit the state Capitol to express their concerns and urge action on the policies that affect them.

Last week Governor Corbett claimed he was making history by standing with one such group. The group was supporting the passage of a $1.7 BILLION tax break for Royal Dutch Shell, which made $31 BILLION in profit last year.


But for some reason Governor Corbett won't stand with all the groups that visit the Capitol, and he doesn't listen to their calls to invest in Pennsylvanians by fully funding public education, services for the disabled, seniors and veterans.


You decide, which group shares your concerns?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fuzzy Math, or fuzzy memory?

In an email to Pennsylvanians last week, Gov. Corbett boasted about his record of making Pennsylvania a leader in job growth.  He practically described Pennsylvania as a utopia of private sector job creation since he took office. He’s even cited “evidence” to support his overstated claim. According to the email:

Governor Corbett is committed to creating an economic environment where job creators can flourish, and, in just one year, the commonwealth has been making progress. 2011 saw the largest one-year growth in private sector jobs in Pennsylvania since 1999 with the private sector adding 82,000 jobs.

Other than totally ignoring the condition of the overall US and state economies since 2008, he forgets that his policies have actually put tens of thousands Pennsylvanians out of work since he took office.

So apparently a laid off teacher with three part time jobs at a Walmart, Burger King and a convenience store is better for the jobs number (+3 jobs), than a teacher in a classroom (-1 job).

And remember this was the week after news broke that Gov. Corbett promised over $1.7 billion in tax breaks for Royal Dutch Shell – yep the same one with over $31 billion in profits last year.

However, what is most interesting is that just three days after the governor’s giddy email, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report regarding May’s employment numbers. And while unemployment was unchanged in May, Pennsylvania actually was among states with the highest number of jobs lost throughout the month -- nearly 10,000 jobs. Only North Carolina lost more.

So with an unchanged unemployment number, at best Corbett’s policies are treading water.

If I were Gov. Corbett I’d continually try to tout the Shell cracker plant as a job creator too, if I lost 10,000 jobs last month in addition to the tens of thousands of jobs last year.

By my math, $66 million a year (for 25 years) resulting in 10,000 jobs may buy us one more month of “unchanged” unemployment figures.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not in my house.

Father’s Day is coming up, and I know one dad who isn’t vying for Father of the Year.

Tom Corbett.

He may be a great dad to his two kids, but in his role as governor he’s apparently inspired by Darth Vader.

Corbett's Dysfunctional Fiscal Family

In Corbett’s fiscal family, rather than valuing his kids’ education, keeping his recently laid-off neighbor off the street, and ensuring his elderly mother has the assistance she needs, he wants to offer billions from the Commonwealth account to some of the world’s most profitable corporations. Corbett likes to describe how he has to play the heavyweight role of dad at the imaginary kitchen table that the typical Pennsylvania family gathers around while discussing financially tough times.

He claims he doesn’t want to spend money his “family” doesn’t have, but he is ok in with passing on collecting a Marcellus Shale tax and in offering future incentives with funds he doesn’t have. Optimistically, Corbett won’t even be governor in 2017, when his 25 year-long master plan to kiss up to the $31 billion-profit- in-2011 Royal Dutch Shell, is set take effect.  

He’s handcuffing Pennsylvanians for a generation and we just can’t afford it.

It’s hard to imagine anything that could be more harmful than his flawed anti-extraction tax, anti-environmental regulation (and anti-local rule) policy on the natural gas industry and on the out-of-state drillers that neglects to put an additional $1.1 billion (what PA would collect for the benefit of citizens if we imposed same tax as WV) --  but running a close second is Corbett’s strategy to entice Shell to locate its proposed cracker plant in western Pennsylvania, which amounts to “don’t pay us, we’ll pay you.”

Both demonstrate Tom Corporate’s backing big business instead of investing in middle class taxpaying Pennsylvania families.

Attracting new businesses and industries is important, but we can do it without cutting funding for education, human services and veterans.

Attracting jobs is important, but Corbett’s policies have already left tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians out of work, and with his detrimental and shortsighted cuts to education and work force training, next generation’s workforce will lack the skills necessary to compete for jobs.

Finally, on this Shell deal, obviously Corbett knows his 2017 $66 million handout to Shell needs to be funded somehow, maybe that is why he proposed cutting human services funding like MH/MR and nursing by approximately $164 million. One year of cuts to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable can fund nearly 3 years of handouts to Shell (if you don’t count the additional tax exemptions due to the proposed location in a KOZ, he’ll need to make more cuts for that).

Despite his fervent criticism of spending on assistance for Pennsylvania’s low income families, Corbett’s plan amounts to the biggest taxpayer-giveaway incentive package in the history of the Commonwealth  -- and it’s for one of the world’s most profitable corporations, not the family sitting around the table balancing its checkbook considering options of how to increase cash flow.

So this Father’s Day, when dads across the state are being appreciated for their guidance, their foresight and their commitment to their families, remember the head of Pennsylvania’s family, Tom Corbett, is giving away your money to big business.