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Media Statement

Media Statement (Better Choices)

May 9, 2012

The Pennsylvania Senate approved a $27.6 billion budget plan today by a vote of 39-8. The plan improves upon the budget proposed by Governor Corbett, but deep cuts to education and health services remain.

On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a rare display of bipartisanship, adopted two Democratic amendments and unanimously approved the spending plan.

The Senate budget, Senate Bill 1466, finds savings from reduced spending on general obligation debt and school employee retirement costs. Most departments remain unchanged. Funding for education, public...

PA Cares for All Rally Photo 1700 Pennsylvanians gathered at the state Capitol today to call on Governor Corbett and the General Assembly to restore funding for General Assistance and critical county services for children, seniors, the homeless, people with disabilities and people receiving mental health treatment.

General Assistance is a benefit of last resort that offers people who are sick or living with a disability a tiny grant allowing them to participate in treatment, rent a room in a boarding house or find a shelter bed. Women fleeing abuse use it as a lifeline when they escape their abusers. Roughly 68,000 people in every county use the program together with Medical Assistance (MA) to avoid homelessness and build a better life for themselves. Governor Corbett has proposed eliminating General Assistance.

The Governor's budget would also lump several proven county health and human service programs into a proposed block grant, without any goals or plan, and make an across-the-board 20% cut to funding.

The elimination of General Assistance and cuts to county services will leave hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians in the dark and will...

A passersby signs the petition to close corporate tax loopholes, with Sharon Ward of the PA Budget and Policy Center (left) and Peg Dierkers, co-chair of the Better Choices for PA coalition (right).

On Tax Day, a group of Pennsylvanians marked the occasion by declaring April 17 “Close the Tax Loopholes” Day in Pennsylvania.

Gathered outside the Harrisburg Post Office for a noontime rally, volunteers with the Better Choices for Pennsylvania coalition collected signatures on a petition urging policymakers to close tax loopholes and end special tax breaks. Speakers explained that loopholes drain state resources that could be invested to create jobs, improve the lives of Pennsylvania families and build a stronger economy.

“Hardworking Pennsylvanians today are paying more because state lawmakers have failed to do anything to close corporate tax loopholes,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Large multi-state corporations are able to shrink or completely erase their state income tax bill by using one of several loopholes that allow them to reduce their income on the books in Pennsylvania. One way they do this is by shifting income earned here to low- and no-tax states like Delaware.

The Pennsylvania...