Diverse Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Vote “Yes” On Revenue Plan

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Ellen Lyon, 717-255-7156
lyon@pennbpc.org

Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Vote “Yes” On Revenue Plan
Funding Needed to Reinvest in Schools & Restart State’s Economy

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 vote today on Gov. Wolf’s revenue package will send a signal to business and workers. A ‘yes’ vote will mean Pennsylvania is ready to build our infrastructure, grow our businesses and educate our children. A ‘no’ vote is a signal that Pennsylvania will continue the Corbett agenda of job elimination and cuts to education,” Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, said.

Four years of budget cuts to education and human services have not done the trick, nor will further cuts. Pennsylvania’s structural deficit has only grown larger. PBPC released a report yesterday examining the experience of five states, including Pennsylvania, since 2011. Three of the states – Kansas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – cut taxes and education funding. The other two states – California and Minnesota -- raised taxes to improve their fiscal health and reinvest in education. The two states that raised revenues enjoy substantially higher job and revenue growth and state school funding per pupil than the three states that relied on tax cuts.

Parent and education advocate Christine Tolbert talked about her concerns regarding the impact of budget cuts on schools. Her youngest child, a senior at Shippensburg Area Senior High School, began playing the trumpet in fifth grade. “Because of his middle school foundation in music, he was prepared for auditions that earned him a place among his high school peers at the regional, state, and national level in band and orchestra,” Tolbert said. “He is the first student from Shippensburg Area School District to be competitive in band at the national level.  If Shippensburg is forced to continue to cut programs due to the lack of state funds, he may be the only student from Shippensburg to ever be competitive at the national level.”

Jeff Garis, outreach and engagement director at PBPC, said, “We call on our representatives in the People’s House to do the people’s will and vote today for the revenue to restore school funding, adequately fund human services and balance the state budget for real.”