Everyone I’ve ever spoken with regarding the issue of balanced budgets agrees: government must be run as we run our homes, keeping spending within means. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who ran on the promise to keep the budget within the state’s revenue, with ”no new taxes,” arguably was elected because the people agreed: Out-of-control government spending must be reined in. When Gov. Corbett took office in 2011, he faced a budget deficit upwards of $3 billion. In response, he cut waste: unnecessary public sector jobs, welfare fraud, excessive government vehicles, among others. He also, however, committed the cardinal sin of budget cuts: he cut education spending.
Well, that’s not completely true. In 2009, the former administration accepted a one-time federal stimulus, largely plugged into education. When this stimulus money ran out a couple years later, Gov. Corbett simply did not renew the money the federal stimulus had added. Some states, including Texas and Alaska, passed on some stimulus funds, in part because when stimulus money runs out, it’s expected that these extra funds will be extended — and in the game of government, that usually means higher taxes. In his 2014-15 budget, the governor has incorporated more money for education in the form of expanding charter schools, scholarships, and a tax credit for underprivileged families, and he still promises no new taxes. He says more school funds will come in the form of revenue from an improving economy.
According to statistics, Pennsylvania is consistently in the top 25 percent education spenders in the U.S., usually hovering around $13,000 per student per school year. And, as even the most elementary of business students know, every penny of the cost of doing business is considered in the cost of a product or service, which means an extra tax will be passed on to you and me! If Pennsylvania imposes yet another tax, regardless of what they’re calling it – extraction tax, excise tax, extra-money-stolen-from-you tax – in order to dump more money into education, Pennsylvanians will be the losers, because this tax will be added to the costs of the goods and services we purchase. I can’t speak for you, but I’m wondering – how much of our money will be enough for Pennsylvania government to get it right?! If, as critics of education spending cuts argue, some districts receive less funding than others, this is something our government must reconcile – but please don’t do it on the backs of taxpayers!
Memo to Pennsylvania taxpayers: Your state spends more than most U.S. states per student on education. Hold Gov. Corbett to his ‘no-new-taxes’ promise. All new taxes mean more money out of your pocket!
Memo to Pennsylvania businesses: Gov. Corbett reduced your taxes. This is not a windfall for you. Take that money and reinvest it in Pennsylvania!