July 1 is the deadline for the Pennsylvania state budget. Corbett is infamous for never calling for an extension. It is already expected that the state will have a 1.3 billion dollar deficit. It imperative that the state capital does not continue to ignore Philadelphia and the looming doomsday budget expected for the 2014-2015 school year. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy center and Public Citizens for Children and Youth are great web pages to gather talking points that can be included in emails, phone calls, and visits. On June 24, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is planing a visit to Harrisburg. Get more information about that and other important events here. The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools is another resource for important dates and legislative details. Click here.
Philadelphia and most of Pennsylvania continue to have a difficult time creating revenue to fill the gap. Every county continues to raise property taxes consistently placing the brunt of the financial responsibility on homeowners and the middle class and poor. The governor continues to tell us that there are no other alternatives except those that take more money from teachers and tax payers. Or even worse, the elimination of state jobs by privatizing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. As we wait for the upcoming gubernatorial race in the fall, there are important changes that we can push for now.
- Ask for the return of the charter school reimbursement
- A push for the passing of the $2 cigarette tax
- Support the early learning fund
- Support for the Marcellus Shale Extraction tax
- A fair full funding formula for the state (PA is 1 out of 3 without one)
- Vote against Senate Bill 1085
- Expand Medicaid
Each of these including local changes in the tax abatement rules can help increase the revenue pie so that schools can stop being only equal based on one's personal zip code. The 440 million dollars that is necessary to open the doors still only provides a bare bones education, and the long term goal is to pass legislation that will provide sustainable and continuous funding. Let your legislators know that you vote, and that you are fully aware that this problem does not exist along party lines. This is not a Democrat or Republican dilemma. it is a moral one. And it is time that all of the citizens in Philadelphia to let their voices be heard so that change can happen. Or else. Call, visit, and email now.