HARRISBURG, March 8, 2011 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny), who serves as Democratic chairman of the Senate Committee on Community, Economic and Recreational Development, today made the following comment on Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal:
“This budget clearly laid out the Governor’s priorities, but the priorities of the legislature may be very different from his. I know that my own differ from what was presented today. We all understand that we must live within our means and while there may be agreement on some of the proposals put forth in this budget address, I believe that there is much work to be done at the negotiating table.
“One of my biggest concerns is with the substantial cut made to basic education, while the federal stimulus funds are no longer available to us, our Commonwealth has a responsibility to continue building on and improving our educational system. I was encouraged by the governor’s emphasis on revitalizing our economy and creating jobs, but am concerned that he does not see the obvious connection between education and business, and our workforce.
“Although this budget has been touted as one with no tax increases and no new fees, the result of this budget will be increased property taxes in many communities throughout the state. The proposal put forth by the governor will still result in tax increases when school districts have no other option but to increase taxes to pay for basic education because of the hole left by the state budget. This is particularly a burden in Allegheny County where many struggle to pay their property taxes now.
“I am hopeful that the governor and all lawmakers will take an open and bipartisan approach to our budget this year. No legislator or political party has the market cornered on good ideas. It is imperative that we work together, improve on each other’s ideas and produce the best possible budget for our Commonwealth that continues the advancements we have made in education, while still creating jobs and promoting economic development.