By SEN. JOHN YUDICHAK
Recently, my colleagues and I, as well as citizens from all across Pennsylvania, watched as Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his budget proposal. The $27.3 billion budget calls for a shared sacrifice from all Pennsylvanians.
I applaud the governor for his attempt to balance a budget in such times of fiscal distress, but if sacrifices are to be made, they must be shared across the board. We cannot hope to control the cost of government unless we all take part in making that happen.
A sound budget plan must make government more cost efficient and more accountable to the people we serve.
Pennsylvania's state budget should not and must not inhibit job growth, not when our state is in such dire need of job opportunities to grow our economy.
The Governor proposed a fifty percent cut to proven job creating investments in education, training and research while proposing a two percent cut for general government operations. Some state agencies, like the Department of Corrections, saw a double digit increase in spending.
Proposed Budget Cutsto Area School Districts:
Lehighton Area School District - $1,332,245 in cuts
Panther Valley School District - $1,335,486 in cuts
Jim Thorpe Area School District - $559,894 in cuts
Weatherly Area School District - $431,095 in cuts
Palmerton Area School District - $1,056,253 in cuts
Hazleton Area School District - $4,984,720 in cuts
Tough cuts are necessary in order to reign in the cost of state government and I am prepared to makes these cuts. What I am not prepared to do is accept a budget proposal that inhibits job growth, places an unnecessary tax burden on homeowners or hinders the possibility of a good education for Pennsylvania children.
There is no doubt that Pennsylvania is facing one of the worst fiscal times in recent history. Because of this, we must come up with innovative ideas to get the state back on its financial footing. Cutting job creating investments is not the answer.
Over the next few months, the legislature will discuss and debate the state budget to come up with a spending plan that meets the needs of our citizens while making our operations more accountable to taxpayers. I am looking forward to the next several months of hearings and negotiations for a budget plan that all Pennsylvanians can share in building and live with for a brighter future.