Monday, February 13, 2012

Values, and why don't we agree on the easy stuff?

So I know I ave written about PA Governor Corbett's budget recently, but I am still up at night and I am still wondering. Bottom line, I want you to wonder with me. Sorry (not really).

Here a couple of items that seem so logical to me. I want healthy conversation, I want to know what I am missing, where I have erred. Please do tell me.

Why would you cut:

1. Education, K-12: Why, after $900 million cut last year do you take another swipe at Public Education. ALL children are entitled to a free and appropriate education…or is that just for the "good" zip codes?

The link between a poor education and jail time is undeniable, so why not educate (pro-active) than jail (re-active)…oh wait, jails are for-profit institutions, and oh wait, folks who run jails make campaign contributions…oh my!

2. Education, Part 2, Colleges: So if you happen to make it to 12th grade and want to go on to further your studies, POW! You have been cut by 20-30%, thats on top of 18% from last year! Getting that degree just cost a heck of a lot more. Does that mean depending on your zip code, again, education is only for the wealthy. I do not believe college is for all but could a state school not cost $30-40,000 a year? Please.

3. Department of Agriculture: huh, we need food, we need farmers, gosh knows its a hard job. Under Corbett's budget (and in all fairness, Rendell cut them twice too) Funding would be eliminated for agricultural research, agricultural promotion, education and exports, hardwoods research and promotion, and food and marketing research. Boo!!! Farmers are fabulous!

4. Transportation: Our roads and bridges are crumbling, but are not addressed in this budget. Its only going to get worse. No one likes a tax increase, but do we want to have bad bridges?

5. Environmental Protection. The Governor’s Budget cuts every line-item in the office of Environmental Protection. Ummmm, this could be scary.

Why wouldn't you cut, or tax (I know its a bad word):

1. Natural Gas: check that, I don't want to tax it, I want to stop drilling NOW. Its a short term gain in jobs and money for land for a very long time of pain in wrecked communities. The gas is getting into places we don't want it to be in (like drinking water). When folks can light up their faucets, its not good. We are missing the common sense chip, big time here!

2. Businesses. They can take a tax cut if they buy new equipment, despite a resulting $200+ mil revenue shortfall to the state. Huh, could we even that out a bit? Maybe only a $100 million dollar hit?

3. The county having block grants sort of scares me…what if your county does not like your town? What if there is a difference of opinions in what a great town is? Could disparity now become a tool of your county leadership?

Look, clearly I do not have the answers, but I do know the cuts above scare me and are part of the values I hold near and dear to me, like education, kids and our environment. I know no one likes new taxes but aren't some things just worth it?

I liked these graphics on our state budget, sometimes pictures help.

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