Well..in this instance, regionalism ain't doing too well.Below is Senator Pileggi's latest statement on the budget, followed by a release put out today by two Democratic candidates running against Mario Civera--who is now running for Delware County Council. It joins the issue pretty well.
Meanwhile, the William Penn School Board in Delaware County voted on June 29th a 4.375% Property Tax hike to support their schools--about $120.00 more for an average homeowner with a house worth $75,000. That's $2.30 per week more just to support the schools. Wouldn't an .82 increase from Harrisburg that would support families, schools, hospitals, and small businesses make more sense?
Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Enacting a Responsible State Budget
By Senator Dominic Pileggi (Delaware County)
One fact – a simple, indisputable and painful fact – is at the center of the ongoing debate about Pennsylvania's state budget: the Commonwealth has a revenue shortfall of $3.3 billion.
My view, and the view of the Senate Republican Caucus, is that we should do exactly what hardworking families across Pennsylvania are doing: cut our spending to match the level of available funds.
The view held by the Governor and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly is that the state should increase taxes – including a 16.3 percent, $1.5 billion increase in the personal income tax – to spend more on government programs.
I believe it is wrong to increase taxes at a time when so many people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and struggling to make ends meet.
Two months ago, the Senate passed a budget that does not increase taxes, relying instead on cuts to state spending. Since that time, the 203 members of the House have yet to debate or vote on a budget.
Instead, the Governor and his public relations apparatus have engaged in a full-time effort to convince you that the Senate's approach will cause the sky to fall in Pennsylvania.
An objective look at the numbers shows that while difficult choices must be made, essential government services can be maintained and improved without increases in taxes and spending.
Under the Senate-approved budget, state and federal funding for public schools would increase by more than $720 million, or 11.7 percent. That is a generous increase in any year. It is an extraordinary increase during these difficult times.
Of the 62 school districts in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties, 57 will receive an increase of more than 10 percent – and all of them will see increases of at least six percent. Philadelphia School District, for example, will receive $212 million in new funds, a 20 percent increase.
Schools will also receive an additional $500 million in capital funds for renovations and construction.
In addition to those substantial new investments in our public schools, the Senate-approved budget protects public safety by providing increased funding to the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Corrections. The social safety net provided by the Department of Public Welfare will remain strong with a funding increase. And funding for many other key programs – such as children's health insurance and autism services – will be maintained or increased.
The sky is not falling.
There is no question that the Senate-approved budget contains many spending cuts. Some of those cuts were very difficult to make, and I hope will be reexamined when the recession ends.
But cuts have to be made, because the only alternative is increasing taxes. And a tax increase will not only hurt individual Pennsylvanians, it will also slow down economic activity and cause the recession to last even longer.
Just last month, the Governor himself said, "This is a bad time to raise taxes because any tax increase hurts the level of spending. So I am philosophically against raising any taxes."
He was right then, and I urge him to return to that position. Tax increases are both unnecessary and counterproductive.
As you think about the state budget, here are the most important numbers to keep in mind:
In the current fiscal year, 2008-09, Pennsylvania is spending $27.7 billion.
The Senate-approved budget for 2009-10 would spend $27.3 billion, reducing total state spending by 1.4 percent.The Governor is seeking a 2009-10 budget of nearly $29 billion, a spending increase of about $1.3 billion.
Now, ask yourself this question: In the worst recession since the Great Depression, does it make more sense for the Commonwealth to hold the line on taxes and reduce spending modestly, or to increase your taxes to pay for a significant increase in government spending?
The answer is clear. We need to live within our means.
I urge the Governor and the House Democratic leaders to support a spending plan that maintains core government services without a tax increase on hardworking Pennsylvanians.
More information about state issues can be found on Senator Pileggi's web site, http://www.senatorpileggi.com/.
Two Candidates for Delaware County Council Respond
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:Endre Jarraux WallsBaulis/Collins for Delaware County Council
WOULD DELAWARE COUNTY VOTERS PAY .82¢ A DAY TO BEAT THE RECESSION?
$.82 per day–That’s what the income tax increase proposed by Governor Rendell will cost households earning $70,000 per year in Delaware County, which is the median family income here.
Delaware County’s two leading representatives-- State Senator Dominic Pileggi and State Representative Mario Civera say their constituents can’t afford it. Senator Pileggi is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Representative Civera is the Republican Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. They are united in saying that the voters of Delaware County can’t afford to take the steps needed to strengthen our County during the recession. Delaware County Council candidates Nancy Baulis and Keith Collins are in awe of our elected official’s lack of concern for our local economy and the well-being of our schools and neighborhoods.
“We’re seeing the same thing we’ve seen for decades in Pennsylvania and beyond; short term gratification over long-term strategy. Let’s face it; it’s easy to understand why some politicians fail to think about the long-term effects of their legislation: In many cases, they won’t have to clean it up later, or even answer for their poor choices. It is clearly up to us, the constituents, the voters, to change their way of thinking and remind them who they work for and why they’re in office – to serve the good of the county both today and tomorrow.” – Keith Collins, Candidate for Delaware County Council.
But the question remains, do these cuts represent what the voters of Delaware County really want?
Here are some of the realities we face if we do not act against the proposed cuts:
Families-Thousands of families will lose access to child care, thousands more will lose social services that they desperately need for their children, and state funding for job training will be all but eliminated. Is this how we help one another in a recession?
Schools- Schools in Delaware County will lose $9.4 million in federal funding. Senator Pileggi and State Representative Civera want to use this federal stimulus money to replace Pennsylvania’s support for schools–not increase it… That’s not what the Obama administration had in mind–and they’ve already said so. But Pileggi and Civera tell us that increases in other federal programs for schools ought to be enough. The schools don’t really need that $9.4 million. Is that what the voters of Delaware County would say, if they understood what was happening here? We need to ask them.
Hospitals-With 75,000 Delaware County residents receiving Medicaid–most of them senior citizens–and thousands of our kids depending upon insurance from SCHIP– Pileggi and Civera refuse to increase Medicaid and SCHIP in Pennsylvania. They’ve even voted to eliminate support for critical access hospitals, trauma centers, obstetrical and neonatal services, and burn centers. While Congress works to increase support for health care, Pileggi and Civera are voting to take it away.
Small Businesses-Small businesses throughout Delaware County have turned to Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development for help in financing and in finding new markets for their products. Pileggi and Civera have now voted to terminate these programs. They’ve also voted to cut funding for the Keystone Opportunity Zone, where businesses can locate tax free. The City of Chester–where Senator Pileggi was Mayor–was included in this program. Now he has voted to end it. How is this supposed to help the city which supported him for so many years?So this is the real choice facing the voters of Delaware County: they either pay an average of 82 cents a day–or less--to help their families, their schools, their hospitals, and small businesses during this critical period, or they pay a heavy economic and social price later on. Senator Pileggi and Representative Civera insist that their constituents can’t pay the price.
If the voters of Delaware County don’t agree, they need to speak out nowbefore it’s too late. As candidates for Delaware County Council, Nancy Baulis and Keith Collins are prepared to speak out for the future of our county. “We’re not politicians, we’re just concerned citizens poised to make a difference and do something progressive for our county. Good representatives of the people reach out to them for their support when major issues like this arise. Here in Delaware County, such collaboration with the community at-large is a rarity at best.
As an educator and a community leader I can see how detrimental to our county’s social health the proposed budget cuts would’ve been to us today and in the future. I’m sure there are tens of thousands of county residents who wish they’d had an opportunity to voice their opinion about how Civera and Pileggi’s budget plans are selling out our county’s future.” – Nancy Baulis, Candidate for Delaware County Council
ABOUT THE BAULIS/COLLINS FOR DELAWARE COUNTY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN – Recent winners of the county primary, Nancy Baulis and Keith Collins are running for Delaware County Council to restore balance and bring fresh new ideas to county leadership. Focused on the development of collaborative partnerships between the county, its municipalities, and its citizens; the team of Baulis/Collins aims to influence lasting progress that makes Delaware County government more effective, efficient, and ethical. While the candidates are running on the democratic ticket, they stand for all of Delaware County, providing a voice for people who simply want good, efficient government regardless of how they’re registered to vote. A voice for the progress of our county…leadership without partisanship.For more information on the individual candidates, you can visit their web pages: Nancy Baulis – URL=http://www.baulisforcountycouncil.com/; Keith Collins – URL=http://www.friendsofkeithcollins.com/. In addition their team website, http://www.abetterdelco.org/ will be launched in late July of this year.
Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values, 1218 Chestnut St.,Rm. 702, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 215-238-1434 email@example.com