Corbett Balances Budget On The Backs Of School Kids; Marcellus Shale Drilling To Remain Tax-Free Gimme

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INQUIRER: In education, Corbett’s budget would wipe out nearly $550 million in basic education funding – a 10 percent cut from this year – and another $650 million for higher education. The four so-called “state-related” universities, including Temple and Lincoln, also would also take a big hit, losing more than 50 percent of their state funding. The state system of higher education, which includes the state universities, also would see its funding cut in half. To offset the pain of cuts to public schools, the governor is asking school districts to reopen their collective bargaining agreements to push for a one-year salary freeze on all school district personnel, from superintendents to teachers. The administration believes that would save an estimated $400 million. MORE

RELATED: Even if we had the highest severance tax in the U.S., the companies would still drill and make billions. A tax wouldn’t chase business away; it would protect local taxpayers from having to pay for the damage drillers cause to roads and drinking water. Unlike the greedy gas-drillers, unions are willing to do the right thing and negotiate to help the state stay solvent and provide needed programs for the middle class. A fight to demonize hardworking state employees and our public-school teachers by stripping their rights away may soon jump from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. Our state’s unions have expressed willingness to make concessions if it means keeping the middle class strong. If they are already willing to compromise, how will stripping our teachers, firefighters, police and other public servants of the right to join together and negotiate for fair working conditions save more money? MORE

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