Memo to Lawmakers: There Are Better Choices

Peg Dierkers and Stephen Drachler, co-chairs of the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition, had a great op-ed in the Delaware County Daily Times last weekend presenting a better alternative to the state budget path being blazed by Governor Corbett.

They explain in stark detail the impact of budget cuts so far and what's on the horizon if the Governor has his way. For instance, the Corbett budget plan would cut funding for higher education so much that the commonwealth would find itself spending $2 on prisons for every dollar on colleges and universities. They ask quite appropriately:

How can we expect to prepare a well-educated workforce and a new generation of leaders when our government continues to cut funding for educating them?

So what we do about it? Here's what Drachler and Dierkers prescribe:

There are better choices. Pennsylvania lawmakers can avoid deep cuts that hurt children, families and seniors without raising taxes.

Lawmakers must find smart cost-savings and efficiencies. The time has also come to close tax loopholes that allow profitable multi-state corporations to avoid paying state taxes. This is a luxury we can no longer afford and one that few states tolerate any more.

We should also delay tax cuts, such as a planned reduction in the state’s capital stock and franchise tax, until the economy recovers more. Over the years, tax cuts have shaved billions off the tax bills of corporations in Pennsylvania, but we haven’t gotten billions in new jobs.

At the end of the day, state spending cuts mean less growth, higher local taxes and college tuition, and a workforce unprepared for tomorrow’s economy. It means lost opportunities for our kids and less help for our parents and grandparents.

We need to get back on the right track by taking bold steps to rebuild Pennsylvania’s economy, not continuing corporate tax cuts that haven’t produced the promised jobs.

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