HARRISBURG, June 30, 2014 – Because of its failure to help school children in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, because it deprives veterans and 500,000 residents of much needed health care insurance, and because it requires hocus pocus to make the numbers work, state Sen. Christine Tartaglione said tonight she voted “no” on the $29.1 billion Corbett budget.

“This is the fourth year in a row that the governor has attempted to balance Pennsylvania’s budget on the backs of school children, teachers, social safety net participants, and neighborhoods,” Sen. Tartaglione said. “It will probably be the fourth year in a row that he fails to finish the fiscal year in the black.

“This new spending plan’s reliance on hoping, praying and pulling rabbits out of Republican hats is overwhelming, and is not good policy.

“Pennsylvania taxpayers must hold on, because the fear is the commonwealth’s economy will be worse this time next year. Some think we could be trying to figure out how to pay for a $2.5 billion deficit.

“The governor owns this budget and its $1.5 billion-plus revenue deficit. It is not Gov. Ed Rendell’s fault and he can’t pin this spending plan on the president,” the senator said. “Gov. Corbett is responsible, and he is accountable for this budget fiasco.”

Tartaglione said the governor must yield and finally agree to expand Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program. Failing to do this, she said, is keeping 500,000 state’s residents and 23,000 veterans from being covered with health care insurance.

The new budget strips money from job creation and redevelopment programs, things Tartaglione said are vital in the state’s feeble efforts to generate new jobs.

Specifically, the senator said the governor’s budget deletes half of the Pennsylvania First line, which delivers opportunity grants, customized job training, and industrial sites investments; takes away nearly 50 percent from Keystone Communities programs like Main Street, Elm Street, and housing funds; and it mutes funds that are set aside to attract new businesses.

“The Republicans will trumpet the $300 million added to education in this budget. The truth is that schools have been woefully underfunded during the governor’s term and they have a long way to go to fund stability,” Tartaglione said. “This is especially true in the School District of Philadelphia where the politics of the past week have threatened to annihilate Philly’s school children.

“Once again, because there is a lack of leadership from the governor and an inability to take responsibility for poor budget decisions, school students, teachers, counselors and school nurses will bear the burden of this spending plan,” Tartaglione said.



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