The proposed 2014-15 budget provides no increase in the basic education subsidy line, leaving that allocation at $5.5 billion. Instead, the plan adds $251 million in other new classroom funding, which is still $430 million below 2010-11.
Organizations, representing advocates for education, combating hunger, the business, manufacturing, legal and banking communities, religious institutions and clergy, school districts and administrators, among many others, sent a letter to all state Senators, stating their opposition to Senate Bill 76.
Over the past 48 hours, news report have trickled out about a tentative budget agreement between Republican legislative leaders and the Wolf Administration. Lacking the information for a full analysis, we will instead lay out criteria for evaluating any budget deal; assess what the early information indicates about the likelihood of this tentative budget agreement meeting these criteria; and suggest how the negotiators might improve the budget framework as they further develop its details.
Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement in response to today’s vote in the state House of Representatives on Gov. Wolf’s revenue package:
"Pennsylvania needs a fiscally responsible 2015-16 state budget that reinvests in education and raises the revenue needed to balance the state books. That would be easier to do with a drilling tax, which voters support.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Oct. 7, 2015 -- A diverse coalition of groups -- including unions, human service organizations and environmental and educational advocates – urged members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote today for Gov. Wolf’s revenue package. At a 10 a.m. press conference in the Capitol Rotunda before the vote, speakers said the commonwealth needs more revenue to reinvest in education, restart the state’s economy, fund vital programs for vulnerable Pennsylvanians and balance the budget.
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center urges members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives to support the revenue package coming up for consideration today in their chamber. Voting for the package requires both political courage to do the difficult but right thing and common sense to see the obvious. Pennsylvania needs more revenue coming in to meet its obligations, close its structural deficit, protect its vulnerable citizens and make the kind of investment in education that voters want and every school child deserves.
Over the past few years, many other states, similar to Pennsylvania in 2011 and again today, have faced critical choices about whether to raise state revenues, hold firm to “no new taxes” or even cut taxes further. We examine the experience of four other states as well as Pennsylvania. Two of the other states – California and Minnesota – raised taxes to improve their fiscal health and to reinvest in education. The other two states – Kansas and Wisconsin – followed the same path as Pennsylvania under Gov. Corbett, cutting taxes in varying degrees and cutting education spending.