Leaders of the CLEAR Coalition congratulated Gov. Tom Wolf on his bold 2015-2016 budget proposal and vowed to work with the legislature to form bipartisan support for the vision that Gov. Wolf has outlined today.
“The governor’s proposed budget is a blueprint for moving Pennsylvania forward,” said Ted Kirsch, President of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania. “The governor promised to restore devastating budget cuts to our public schools. He said he would overhaul our tax structure to make it fairer for hard-working Pennsylvanians, and that’s exactly what this budget does.”
Gov. Wolf outlined a $29.9 billion dollar budget proposal that includes sweeping changes to the state’s tax structure; significant investments in public education and other core services of state government; a long overdue statewide tax on the Marcellus shale drillers; and modernization of the state’s wine and spirits stores.
“This budget will ensure that corporations will pay their fair share and it will reduce crippling property taxes for millions of Pennsylvania homeowners,” said David Fillman, Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13 and Chair of the CLEAR Coalition. “It’s time to close the huge corporate tax loopholes and it is time that the shale drillers, finally, pay the same tax that they pay in every other major natural gas producing state in America.”
The CLEAR coalition’s member labor unions represent more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians. The coalition has identified more than $2 billion in savings, efficiencies and new sources of revenue to help close the state deficit and fund core programs and services.
Tom Herman, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 668 noted that the previous administration cut corporate taxes by $2 billion in the past four years. At the same time, however, the state’s ranking for new jobs created plummeted while roughly 75 percent of the state’s school districts raised property taxes.
“The old model failed Pennsylvania families. Property taxes went up while districts were compelled to cut programs and student performance is stagnating,” said Herman. “The state’s economy actually slowed. Gov. Wolf is right to call for a dramatic change in how Harrisburg works.”