HARRISBURG, February 7, 2012 – – Following Governor Tom Corbett’s budget address on, Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Vincent Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery) provided the following statement:

“With this budget address, Governor Corbett has once again proven his disconnect with Pennsylvania citizens.  Despite what the governor may have said today, the reality is Pennsylvania’s job creation has been stagnant, economic development is at a standstill and public education – which is still dealing with last year’s billion dollar body blow – is getting hit again. 

While we are in dire need of investments, the governor has chosen to cut critical programs and services our middle and low income families have come to depend upon, while making zero effort to create jobs and boost economic development.  Job creation and economic must be our top priority moving forward.

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Instead, the governor has proposed a new round of cuts to education, human services and public welfare funding that will have devastating effects on Pennsylvania’s citizens.

The governor has proposed $400 million in education cuts.  These cuts will send struggling schools into a tailspin and put college out of reach for many. The governor’s assertion that basic education was not cut this year does not tell the entire story.  Early childhood programs will be cut in this spending plan.  The financial crisis facing Chester-Upland School District will soon become a reality for more school districts throughout Philadelphia and the entire commonwealth. 

The holes in our gaping social safety net will only get wider with the $600 million in cuts the governor is proposing for human services programs.  These cuts will force our most vulnerable citizens to dig deeper in their pockets and continue the cycle of poverty.

This budget also fails to fund the state’s growing transportation infrastructure crisis.  With 4,890 structurally deficient bridges in Pennsylvania, a solution is imperative.  Public safety is at stake and an opportunity to create job opportunities for thousands is being squandered.

Pennsylvania needs innovative ideas that invest in the future of the state.  That cannot be achieved with the cut first, ask questions later policies that we’ve seen from the Corbett Administration.  We must not lose our way or our focus on creating strong communities, better schools and greater opportunities.

It is my plan to work with my colleagues in the Senate and House, over the next few months, to craft a state spending plan that puts Pennsylvania people first, invests in job creation and boosts the economy.  Anything less than that will simply be unacceptable.

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