Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, in commenting on Governor Corbett’s budget address, said that it sounded more like a campaign speech than a budget address. It was long rhetoric but very short on specifics. This could be due to the fact that he used George W. Bush’s speech writer to tweak his budget address.
“If you read between the lines of his address it appears to be an admission that his massive cuts in education and human services has harmed Pennsylvania and now he is proposing very small piecemeal increases to make amends. We urge the legislature to restore all of the massive cuts in education and to close the loopholes and giveaways to corporations which have caused the budget deficits,” President Bloomingdale said.
“And once again, he is proposing privatization of Pennsylvania’s wine and spirits, characterizing it as the ‘last call’ of the final year of his first term as Governor. His ‘last call’ destroys 5,000 family sustaining jobs in a public system that protects our communities. We support modernization of the current system, which protects working families, will create more good jobs, and will further improve convenience and prices for the consumers. It also will generate more revenue that will benefit taxpayers and promote safe and responsible consumption,” Secretary-Treasurer Snyder said.
“Governor Corbett is also calling for lowering the costs of school and public employee pensions. He is proposing to add to the problem by, once again, giving school districts and the Commonwealth another pension holiday while workers continue to faithfully make their contributions in every paycheck so that they will have a decent pension when they retire. The Governor’s proposal to eliminate defined benefit pensions will balloon the unfunded liability by an additional $40 billion. We support increasing revenues by closing the loopholes and the tax giveaways our Governor succeeded in passing over his previous budget cycles. This will give our school districts the funding they need to prevent additional layoffs and to meet their pension obligations to their workers,” Snyder added.
“While we believe that there is plenty of bad proposals in the Governor’s budget address, we do acknowledge, as he did today, that investments in infrastructure and worker training do produce a world class workforce that is second to none. Proposals that weaken the voice of working families or lower their wages are simply a race to the bottom to lower wages and lower living standards. We support investments in workers and infrastructure and raising the wages of workers, including raising the minimum wage to fight poverty and in ending the growing wage gap between the wealthiest families and working families. We will work with the legislature in passing a budget that supports working families, who are the backbone of our economy,” Bloomingdale said.