Activists take on Corbett's cuts in February
Working America, an affiliate organization of the AFL-CIO, is taking action against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) and his cuts to public education. Corbett has significantly reduced the education budget, while giving away money to his corporate cronies:
Corbett and his allies sold the cuts as “fiscal responsibility” and “shared sacrifice” – tough decisions he needed to make to balance the budget. But the sacrifice is very much felt on one side: $860 million cut from public education last year, and deep cuts to everything from services for the disabled to unemployment insurance.
Meanwhile, with whom are students, teachers, the disabled, and the working poor “sharing” these sacrifices? The Delaware tax loophole, which allows Pennsylvania corporations to pay taxes in nearby Delaware, caused the Commonwealth to lose $493 million – money that could be invested in schools support the most vulnerable. That loophole has remained untouched by the Corbett Administration, as have other corporate giveaways.
Working America gathered stories of the pain Corbett's cuts have caused, including stories like this one from LaTonya Greene, mother and waitress:
This state budget has crushed education in PA, and we can’t afford for that to happen again this year. My six year-old son was in full-day kindergarten last school year, and he learned a lot. My daughter is in kindergarten now, but it was cut to half-day due to the budget cuts. She’s not learning, and I’m afraid she may have to repeat it.
My two year-old son entered an early childhood education program in September, but because of state budget cuts, it closed in November. To make things worse, some after-school programs here have been cut as well.
The government claims the state broke, but many corporations and gas companies here are getting richer, and not paying taxes. This is being done at the expense of our children’s education.
We need to make sure that our politicians know that we value education and want to see it funded in the state budget. Our elected officials need to put our kids over corporate profits, and finally require corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
Those who oppose Corbett's agenda can take action and send him a letter demanding he do better:
Good schools are at the center of every community. They educate our children and prepare them to be tomorrow's leaders. Good schools are only possible by having great teachers.
The teachers in the Chester Upland School District had to work without pay for weeks after the district ran out of money. That is a disgrace. We have to do better by our children and their teachers. None of us would be where we are today without great teachers. Teachers deserve to know we value their work, and that we will continue to pay them for their service.
You say our state doesn't have the money, but that's just not true. We lose hundreds of millions of dollars through corporate giveaways like the Delaware Tax Loophole. We need to bring that money home to pay for basic services and invest in our kids' future.
Gov. Corbett, please commit to paying all our great teachers. We can't let public education suffer when times get tough.