It is Time to End Political Games, Working Families Oppose House Budget

Leaders of the CLEAR Coalition today urged Republican lawmakers to end the political games and focus on a state budget that restores the devastating cuts to our public schools and other critical state programs.

“Pennsylvanians are sick and tired of the games. They want real solutions that will help fund our schools. They want property tax relief and they are demanding that the shale drillers and all corporations pay their fair share,” said David Fillman, Executive Director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13 and a founder of the CLEAR Coalition.

“Bottom line: this budget adds just $8 million to basic education funding. That’s $8 million after former Gov. Corbett and the GOP cut $1 billion from our schools in the past four years. Gov. Wolf has proposed a budget that will help create jobs and properly fund our schools. He has proposed an historic property tax relief plan that will deliver real savings to millions of Pennsylvanians, especially our senior citizens. The bill that was passed today just doesn’t get it done.”

The CLEAR Coalition has identified a range of savings and new revenues that will ensure a fair and balanced budget that funds key programs across the state. Proposals include a statewide tax on the Marcellus shale drillers; modernizing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB); and closing corporate tax loopholes.

“It is time, once and for all, that the shale drillers pay the same tax that they are already paying in every other natural gas producing state,” said Tom Herman, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 668. “Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for a fair tax that can be used to fund our schools.”

Herman added that lawmakers recognize that the state is confronting a budget crisis.

“Lawmakers understand that we have a $1.2 billion deficit to close. But Republican leaders have decided to play political games. It’s a waste of time and energy. The status quo won’t cut it.”

The CLEAR Coalition’s member organizations represent 1.1 million Pennsylvania families. The coalition advocates for fair budget solutions that adequately fund core programs and services.