FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl
Ravenstahl: GOP budget will lead to property tax, tuition increases
HARRISBURG, May 13 – State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, today called on Gov. Corbett and the House Republicans to use new state revenues to restore proposed budget cuts for education and senior citizens. The House Republicans introduced their budget bill this week, and it was voted out of the Appropriations Committee.
"Revenues are coming in much stronger than expected, and that should be good news for Pennsylvanians," Ravenstahl said. "But instead of putting the $1 billion surplus to work to ease budgetary pains, House Republicans want to stash the money in a Rainy Day Fund. However, it's already raining on our school districts, the University of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County residents."
The state Department of Revenue recently reported that the state collected $506 million more in tax revenue than was originally projected. Standard budgeting procedure says that excess revenue becomes part of next year’s revenue base, meaning new funds in excess of $1 billion for the 2011-12 budget.
The proposed budget would cut funding to the Pittsburgh School District by $26.7 million, or nearly 15 percent. The Shaler School District stands to lose $1.18 million in state funding — a nearly 10 percent cut – under the House Republican proposal, while North Hills School District will lose $587,000, or 9.5 percent of its state funding.
"When state funding to education goes down, local property taxes go up," Ravenstahl said. "Higher property taxes hit those on fixed income hardest, particularly our senior citizens."
The House Republican budget also cuts funding to Pitt, Penn State and the other state‐related universities by $169.7 million or 24.7 percent. It cuts funding to state-owned universities by $75.5 million or 15 percent.
"Those cuts to higher education will cause tuition increases, and put even more strain on our working-class families," Ravenstahl said.
Ravenstahl added that the House GOP budget would severely cut a breast cancer screening and domestic violence program, along with home and community‐based services for disabled Pennsylvanians.