Will Pennsylvania Take North Carolina’s Austerity Path?

PA House GOP Budget Will Kill Jobs And Slow Economic Growth

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Beaver County Blue via Phillylabor.com

The state legislature will convene on Monday, June 3rd to begin crafting a final 2013-2014 budget. We need to make sure that the state budget supports all working families in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is facing a $500 million deficit. We rank 49th in the nation in job creation, which is reflected by our high unemployment rate. Governor Corbett has cut state funding by $1 billion to our school districts since he took office in 2011, while giving a $1 billion tax break to businesses. In February, Governor Corbett proposed yet another budget that is not in Pennsylvania’s best interest, making even more cuts in education and other areas necessary to keep our great state running. Corbett’s budget continues the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT), costing taxpayers approximately $365 million a year, and fails to expand Medicaid, which would insure half a million hard-working, low income Pennsylvanians at very little cost to the State.

On Wednesday, May 29, House Republican leaders introduced a 2013-2014 budget that is $100 million less than Governor Corbett’s budget that he proposed in February.

The proposed house budget has even more cuts, ranging from childcare services for low-income working families to services for persons with disabilities. Balancing the budget on the backs of hard working Pennsylvanians is not the way to solve the problems that face our state.

We support legislation that improves and modernizes the Liquor Control Board to improve convenience for Pennsylvanians. The LCB already generates more than $500 million in profit and taxes for the state, and could add $75 million to $100 million annually if new legislation allowed for more Sunday stores and hours as well as greater flexibility in pricing and staffing.

Increased funding for transportation is also necessary to keep our roads and bridges safe. Recently, an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette explained that the state of our bridge infrastructure is dead last compared to the rest of the nation, with more than 4,500 state maintained bridges deemed as structurally deficient.

Pennsylvania, under the Affordable Care Act, has the opportunity to expand Medicaid and insure at least 500,000 more residents. The federal government would cover the complete cost of expansion until 2017, when it would drop to cover 95% and eventually 90%. We should take this opportunity to insure Pennsylvanians instead of leaving the money on the table.

Finally, we oppose any more business tax cuts like the phase out of CSFT while cuts are being made to education and health care.

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