Maintains or deepens the cuts to education, health, and public assistance that resulted in 21,000 public-sector jobs lost last year.
Under Governor Corbett's budget-slashing, Pennsylvania has gone from one of the top 10 states in the nation for job growth, to one of the bottom 10 in the nation.
Includes a $1.8 billion operating budget for the Department of Corrections. Since 1980, prison spending in Pennsylvania has grown by 1,882 percent, rising six times faster than state spending on basic education. This year's proposed prison budget spends twice as much on prisons as it does on higher education.
His budget also continues to fund the massive $685 million prison expansion. This money is being used to build three new state prisons and expand nine others.
This comes at the same time that he is cutting funds for the things that keep people out of prison, such as education, healthcare, and social services.
Believes that more prisons will not make our communities safer or healthier. Smart investment in community institutions and infrastructure makes us healthier and safer. Public money should go toward public goods: quality public schools, stable housing, jobs and job training programs, health care and food access, drug and alcohol treatment programs, community-based reentry services, and non-punitive programs that address the root causes of violence in our communities.
Last year, Governor Corbett slashed state education spending by $1 billion. Compounding the decades of disinvestment in Philly Public Schools, these budget cuts meant a $629 million shortfall in the School District of Philadelphia, resulting in massive layoffs, program cuts, increased class size, and fewer resources in our schools. His proposed budget would slash our already-strained District with an additional $21 million in cuts for next year. Due to this underfunding, the School Reform Commission, led by Corbett-appointee Pedro Ramos, is proposing to close 64 schools in the next 5 years and hand off many of our public schools to private management companies.
Quality public education is a human right that all children, regardless of their local property taxes, deserve. Corbett's predecessor, Governor Rendell, worked alongside communities across the state to demand that Pennsylvania change the funding formula to better meet students' and communities' actual education needs. The 2008 Costing Out study showed that Philadelphia has been historically underfunded and deserves $1 billion in additional funds to adequately educate our city's children.
Instead of setting up an economic "crisis" where our public schools get closed or privatized, we demand that the necessary resources go into building up schools that work for students, families, teachers, and communities.
Recognizes that cutting health services for the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians is not only morally wrong, it is also short-sighted. Cuts to housing lead to increased hospitalizations for people with HIV, TB, and other communicable, life-threatening illnesses. Cuts to drug, alcohol, and mental illness programs lead to more homelessness and incarceration. Cutting health programs for the uninsured leads to less preventative care and more costly emergency room visits. Cutting funding to prevent the spread of tuberculosis is a public-health threat for all Philadelphians. Corbett's massive budget slashing may be penny-wise, but it is pound-foolish as it makes more Pennsylvanians sicker.
Claims to be a "no new taxes" budget. But cities and counties across Pennsylvania are being forced to raise property taxes and fees to keep their schools open.
Governor Corbett claims to be worried about fraud and dependence, and uses that to justify drug testing for people receiving public assistance, automatically kicking people off of state aid and making them jump through hoops to get the money they are entitled to, and cutting assistance programs. But he has a double-standard when it comes to corporations that avoid paying their fair share and claim hardship due to the recession. Why isn't he worried about the natural gas industy's dependence on tax rebates? Or the shady accounting practices of businesses exploiting the "Delaware loophole"?
Is honest about taxes. If the state needs to raise revenue to avoid massive layoffs, a people's budget asks everyone to pay their share. That means everyone, including the natural gas and oil industries and the corporations making record profits even during the recession.
Governor Corbett doesn't believe in second chances. He has continued the punitive policies that send people to prison and keep them there as long as possible. This has led to skyrocketing incarceration rates and massive spending on prison construction and operations. These policies are both immoral and expensive. They break apart communities and divert money away from schools and services and into the prison system.
Eliminating General Assistance means no more second chances for Pennsylvanians trying to leave domestic violence situations, get into drug or alcohol recovery programs, or hold on until their disability claims are processed. General Assistance is the only cash assistance these Pennsylvanians are eligible for, and often means the difference between being able to get out of a bad situation and being stuck or winding up in jail, the hospital, or on the streets.
Maintains the General Assistance program. We believe everyone deserves a second chance, and a hand when they're ready to take that first step out of a bad situation.
We believe that the answer to prison overcrowding is to reverse the irresponsible policies that led to prison overcrowding in the first place. Instead of building more prisons, we need to reduce the number of people in prison. This would eliminate the need to build new prisons and has the potential to dramatically reduce corrections spending. There are many safe and effective ways to do this. Here are just a few:
For a more comprehensive list of ways to reduce the prison population, click here to download an informative PDF.