HARRISBURG, January 25, 2012 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) issued the following statement after joining with his Senate Democratic colleagues to unveil this year’s budget priorities.

“Right now it is more important than ever to continue the fight to protect Pennsylvania’s working families, children, and seniors.  We must continue to focus our efforts on creating jobs in Pennsylvania and investing in our communities. The issue of job creation is one which the governor has been silent on during his first year in office, and his lack of leadership has hurt Pennsylvania. Inaction is something that we, as a Commonwealth, cannot afford.

“In addressing last year’s budget challenges, Governor Corbett called for ‘shared sacrifice.’ In that spirit, we cannot continue to give gas drillers and corporations a pass on paying their fair share of taxes while property owners and working families continue to carry most of the burden.

“Last year, Senate Democrats presented the governor with a comprehensive plan called PA WORKS NOW.   We believe that thousands of men and women could return to the workforce if this plan would be considered. Over the past year, we have refined and improved upon this plan.

“Senate Democrats have identified nearly $1 billion in revenue through a number of measures which would make government more efficient.  We feel that natural gas companies which make billion dollar profits should pay something back to Pennsylvanians in return for extracting a natural resource which belongs to us all. Furthermore, our plans to create jobs and rebuild communities can all be achieved without any broad-based tax increases. When it comes to Pennsylvania’s working families, our government has already asked enough.

“It is also time to finally close the Delaware loophole, which enables corporations to shield themselves from paying Pennsylvania taxes. That money escaping through tax loopholes can be used to gradually reduce the state’s corporate net income tax to make Pennsylvania more appealing to investors, industries and businesses.

“If we get our economy back up and running, revenue and state funding issues largely take care of themselves. A vibrant economy sustains workers, families and fuels the funding for the kinds of programs and services Pennsylvanians rely on.

“We also need to strengthen state support for our public schools and colleges. While our resources may be limited, our future relies on the caliber of the children we educate and prepare for tomorrow’s jobs.

“Going into this year’s budget process, I will stand strong with my Senate Democratic colleagues, and continue to fight for families, working citizens and seniors to make sure our priorities are heard and continue to be a part of the discussion in Harrisburg.”

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