Also Blasts State Community Takeover Bill

HARRISBURG, June 29, 2011 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today said the new state budget and a state takeover bill aimed at struggling cities will hurt working families, spur drastic local tax increases and could force school districts and municipalities to mergers.

Brewster said the measures, which Republicans crafted behind closed doors with no Democratic input, would also hurt law enforcement and first-responders if mergers become a reality.

“Revenue has been ripped from our communities and school districts,” Brewster said. “This drop in state support will add undue burdens on already cash-strapped families.

“Look for a state takeover in a community near you. The passing of SB 1151 will allow the state to strip the rights of voters by usurping their elected leaders. This bill implements a management board and makes 53 communities across the state vulnerable to having the state take over their government’s operational and fiscal affairs.

Brewster said the “hypocrisy” of the budget can be summed up by governor’s unwillingness to impose an impact fee on one of the largest, most profitable industries in the world; and at the same time, refusing to use the state’s budget surplus, estimated at $700 million, to negate some of the brutal cuts to education, health care and emergency programs for homeowners.

“The ill effects of the budget will emerge with time and then, the good people of Pennsylvania will see firsthand what their governor has done to them, their families and their communities,” Brewster said.

The budget bill (HB 1485) passed the Senate by a vote of 30-20, along party lines. It is now in the House of Representatives for concurrence. Senate Bill 1151 passed the Senate 29-21, and is also under consideration in the House.

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