Statement: Budget Falls Short on Education, Health Care, Tax Reform

HARRISBURG, PA (July 2, 2013) — Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, issued the following statement on the recent passage of the 2013-14 state budget:

“There is little to celebrate in this budget. It fails to adequately address the enormity of the funding crisis facing Pennsylvania schools. 80 percent of the cuts to classrooms are left intact, and that means higher property taxes and even larger class sizes in our schools.

“Rolling back planned corporate tax cuts would have freed up funds to restore education funding. Lawmakers did extend one corporate tax for two years, which will shore up the state’s fiscal health, but missed an opportunity to do the same for public schools.

“Lawmakers conceded that corporate tax avoidance should no longer be tolerated and took a small step to close loopholes, but many companies will find it all too easy to get around. Lawmakers also added a new round of costly tax breaks for select industries, including the banks, private plane owners, gas drillers, and satellite and wireless companies.

“The Pennsylvania Senate did the right thing in advancing the expansion of Medicaid. We commend them for approving a bipartisan bill that will both expand health coverage and support the Governor’s effort to negotiate a sound agreement with the federal government. In contrast, Pennsylvania House Republicans put narrow ideology above compassion and common sense.”