HARRISBURG, February 7, 2012 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2012-13 state budget proposal:

“Less than a week after we celebrated Groundhog Day, Pennsylvanians had a ‘Groundhog Day’ moment of another kind as Governor Corbett outlined his 2012-13 state budget yesterday. Apparently, the governor wants a repeat of last year’s budget, which means more painful cuts, no direct job creation funding and no concern for ensuring that wealthy corporations pay their fair share.

“The governor said in his budget address that precedence has been given to changing ‘the culture of government from one of entitlement to one of enterprise.’  This statement demonstrates that Corbett is not a governor of the people’s needs, but rather a governor with an agenda to cut wherever necessary without any long-term solution. He coddles corporate interests at the expense of working families, children, seniors and our most vulnerable citizens. Citizens statewide must carry the burden of all of these funding cuts while big businesses escape unscathed.

“A year after cutting the budget by over $1.86 billion, the governor has now proposed slashing an additional $20 million in state spending, mainly to education and programs that help the elderly and disabled. How long can Pennsylvania stand for the same exact rhetoric and the same exact cuts, year after year?

“Although there will be no state tax increases, school districts will once again be forced to slash programs and lay off more educators.  This essentially will force school districts to make up the differences through property tax hikes.

“The budget proposal also fails to close corporate tax loopholes that allow corporations to duck paying Pennsylvania taxes.  Closing tax loopholes could gradually reduce the state’s corporate net income tax to make Pennsylvania more appealing to investors, industries and businesses, but the governor is more interested in protecting these foreign companies and forcing the cash-strapped middle class to suffer some more.

“Meanwhile, the governor also has completely overlooked a looming transportation infrastructure crisis that continues to worsen. Last year, the governor appointed a Transportation Advisory Commission to study Pennsylvania’s transportation crisis and make recommendations.  It has been seven months since the commission issued its report that showed Pennsylvania’s funding needs at $3.5 billion but we have seen no action from the governor.  Fixing our transportation infrastructure would put people to work. But the governor remains silent.

“Just like last year, this latest budget address from the governor demonstrates a misguided, out-of-touch approach that will continue to burden working families while corporations and big business feel no pain. Just like in the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ Pennsylvania will remain stagnant unless we produce real, long-term solutions that move us forward.”

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