"Research is clear that student performance improves with smaller class sizes, rigorous programs, and qualified teachers," Sharon Ward writes. "Yet since 2011 Pennsylvania has done the opposite, enacting cuts that have increased class sizes, eliminated enrichment programs, and taken tens of thousands of teachers, guidance counselors, and aides out of the classroom."
"Food stamps help feed more than 1 million Pennsylvania children, seniors, and their families — a goal that has been achieved with a record high accuracy rate in recent years," PBPC Director Sharon Ward writes in a letter to the Erie Times-News.
As the clock ticks toward a new state budget, lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett have turned their attention once again to closing loopholes. Unfortunately, lawmakers are under heavy pressure from the business community to water the plan down, and that could mean Pennsylvania ends up with a law that protects loopholes, rather than closing them.
Last month, Governor Chris Christie announced that New Jersey would accept federal funds to extend Medicaid health coverage to more than 300,000 New Jerseyans because it was “the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health.” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett should follow his lead.
Pennsylvania needs a budget that returns to tried-and-true investments in education and public infrastructure, the kind that can build a foundation for Pennsylvania's long-term economic competitiveness. This would ensure that our best days truly are ahead. Read Sharon Ward's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed on Governor Corbett's budget plan.
In the 2013-14 budget unveiled Tuesday, Governor Corbett has proposed modest increases in popular programs that depend on uncertain policies that will have to pass both legislative and legal muster. In doing so, he has built a budget that is a house of cards, which may well crumble in the months to come. Read Sharon Ward's Allentown Morning Call op-ed on the budget plan.
"Gov. Corbett and lawmakers have a choice: more cuts that undermine this progress and pass the buck to families and communities - or a reinvestment in Pennsylvania's future," PBPC Director Sharon Ward writes in an op-ed in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.