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Brewster: Budget Tricks Not Sustainable

Harrisburg – June 30, 2014 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) issued the following statement following the Senate’s passage of House Bill 2328, the state General Fund budget.

Sen. Brewster’s comments are as follows:

“For yet another year, Governor Tom Corbett and his legislative allies have produced a spending plan that creates more hardship and pain for the citizens of Pennsylvania. The $29.1 billion budget does not solve any problems and is built on faulty revenue assumptions, budget tricks and accounting ploys that are not sustainable in the long run.

“It is particularly disappointing that once again schools, job creation initiatives and human services programs have been left to struggle under Governor Corbett’s leadership. His modest school funding initiative hardly addresses the difficulties he caused when he cut $1 billion dollars from schools several years ago. Students, teachers and taxpayers will continue to bear the burden and pay for the decisions made by the Corbett administration.

“As troubling, the plan cuts meaningful dollars from a pool of money that is used to attract new business and create jobs. This illustrates the governor’s lack of vision and inability to define a path forward that would enable Pennsylvania to grow its way out of fiscal despair.

“There is no question that the $1.5 billion-plus revenue deficit this year is daunting. This budget does not resolve that problem and only makes the situation worse. This sham budget sets up a structural deficit in excess of $2.5 billion next year.

“This spending plan did not have to go in this direction. There would have been revenues to invest in education, jobs and human services if the governor would have supported Medicaid expansion that would have generated $400 million and a new extraction tax which would yield $700 million.

“To address these deep fiscal issues we need strong leadership and a new direction, both of which are lacking in this spending plan. I think the taxpayers have been cheated with this effort and I am greatly disappointed.”

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