Schlossberg votes to restore education, human services funding

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – Regarding today’s House vote on the tax component of Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, who supported a modest Personal Income Tax increase to restore education funding and provide additional property tax relief, issued the following statement:

"The governor knows spending money today, particularly for education, will save tons of taxpayer funds down the line. Under his vision of financial stewardship, Allentown School District would be positioned to bring back 400 teachers, and to restore classes in art, music and physical education.

"Also, for our seniors, eligibility for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program would double under the Wolf plan, meaning that as a group, they would pay even less in property taxes.

"This is about more than breaking a three-month budget logjam – it’s about finally owning up, as a state, to our fiscal responsibility. Here’s the reality: We’ve been broke for four years, suffered eight credit downgrades and were on a path to fiscal paralysis. Governor Wolf and House Democrats finally decided to be the adults in the room, by acknowledging you don’t solve problems by simply wishing them away.

"For the past five years, former Governor Tom Corbett and those who embrace his legacy have dominated the legislature, leading to unprecedented cuts to education and human services, and to massive local property tax hikes. Our choice is simple: Do we continue down the Corbett path, continuing this downward spiral; or do we opt to set Pennsylvania on a new and upward-pointing trajectory?

"The question for me was and is, ‘At what point do we, as leaders, decide having a better society is worth paying for?’ As someone who believes that all of us have an obligation to care for each other, I believe that point is now.

"It is my hope that today's vote will not be the last one. Republicans have argued that other reforms are needed in other areas of government, and Governor Wolf has attempted to compromise with them.

"I join his desire for compromise, because that is the only way out of this mess, and I hope to have another opportunity to vote for a budget that garners the political support necessary to become law, while still meeting the needs of the people and school children of Allentown and South Whitehall."