Pennsylvanians go 0-for-28.4 billion
07/10/2013 12:34PM ● Published by ACL
Letter to the Editor:
As the dust settles on another Republican budget for Pennsylvania, headlines across the commonwealth cry, '0-for-3 goes Gov. Tom Corbett.' But he won't win a tear from me.
As far as I'm concerned, Pennsylvanians fared far worse at 0-for-28.4 billion.
The governor's three pet projects, liquor privatization, pension reform and transportation funding, were so rife with bad politics and poor leadership that it was virtually impossible to tell where one platform began and another ended. Thanks to a not-so-secret handshake between the Senate and House majorities, if we House Democrats had voted for a watered-down transportation plan that underfunded SEPTA, then liquor privatization would have advanced in the Senate. That would have meant the proliferation of alcohol in our communities and the loss of more than 5,000 jobs in our Wine and Spirit Shoppes, two things I vehemently oppose.
Pension reform was Corbett's third failure, but his risky proposal was always a nonstarter for me.
Another poison-pill courtesy of Corbett and Co. involved the paltry $145-million aid package for our schools tucked in the budget's accompanying school-code bill. Let me be clear: It mostly relies on higher taxes in Philadelphia and enough borrowing to damage our credit rating. The $45 million from the state is a one-time offer and comes from nothing more than a handshake from the federal government.
To make matters worse, it was wrapped in enough anti-union language that a "yes" vote meant hanging teachers' collective-bargaining rights out to dry, while a "no" vote meant turning away money that our students desperately need, even as little as it ended up being.
By the time Sunday night came around, I was sick to my stomach.
See, beside the stomach bug that found me after an eighth night stuck in the Capitol watching all this unfold, the most nauseating feeling I was left with was how this can pass as leadership in Pennsylvania.
Suffice it to say, I have no sympathy for Gov. Corbett, only the 13 million people he failed to represent.
Rep. Stephen Kinsey
201st Legislative District