FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Neal P. Goodman
Goodman votes no on another pass-the-buck budget
HARRISBURG, June 28 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman said he will vote against the proposed state budget because it does not restore deep cuts to education that have resulted in property tax increases and school layoffs throughout Schuylkill County and the rest of the Commonwealth.
“I have always agreed that you can’t spend more money than you have and that you have to live within your means, but Pennsylvania’s current budget crisis is by choice," Goodman said. "The reason we don’t have funding for education and vital programs supporting our seniors, disabled, and veterans is out of choice."
Goodman said if Pennsylvania would have imposed a reasonable severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas, like West Virginia has, it would have $1.6 billion in additional revenue. The funding from the shale tax alone would completely restore all education and human services funding cuts.
"The 2011-12 budget cut $1 billion from education," Goodman said. "This year’s budget continues that cut. How can that possibly be level funding for public education?"
Goodman said school districts in his legislative district have been cut by the following amounts since 2010-11:
• Pottsville Area -- $3.3 million;
• North Schuylkill -- $2.3 million;
• Shenandoah -- $1.6 million;
• Minersville -- $1.4 million;
• Mahanoy Area - $1.4 million;
• Saint Clair - $800,000;
Goodman said education cuts have forced nearly 350 school districts across the state to raise taxes within the last two years, including half the schools in Schuylkill County. He added that 15,000 school jobs have been eliminated, pay-to-play athletic programs have been instituted, and many important programs such as kindergarten, library, music, art, elementary physical education and pool activities have been eliminated.
"The governor has been trying to convince the public that funding is being restored to public school districts; however, I challenge the people of my district to simply ask any school administrator, teacher or school board member if they think funding has been restored," Goodman said. "Just ask them if the 2012-13 budget provides level funding."
"The governor promised not to increase taxes, but he is forcing everyone else around him to raise them," Goodman added. "He has just passed the buck to local school districts, county government, and property owners."
“The Corbett Administration has put us in the financial situation we are in by the choices he has made and the direction he has taken the Commonwealth," he said. "All of these cuts could have been averted if the governor would have accepted a reasonable severance tax.”
Goodman also reminded his colleagues that the state's budget isn't complete until related legislation, such as the fiscal, education and public welfare code bills are passed and signed by the governor.