State Rep. Ronald Waters is the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus:
When he unveiled his budget for the commonwealth, Gov. Tom Corbett said, “If government is here to share the taxpayers’ wealth, then everyone needs to share in the sacrifice.”
His budget proposal shows no such “sharing” of sacrifice. Most disturbing in Gov. Corbett’s budget is the complete lack of funding for the commonwealth’s most needy residents – including seniors, minorities, working families, single mothers, and those without health insurance.
The governor has shown a complete lack of commitment and compassion for the state’s most disadvantaged residents, even going so far as to allow adultBasic health insurance to expire.
This is plain wrong when the state’s publicly funded health insurers sit on billions of dollars in trust funds which should be used to give the poorest among us access to health care.
As the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, I am speaking out against the governor’s budget, as it disproportionally affects African Americans and other citizens of color. The governor’s budget includes cuts to basic social programs and education – all while the governor has chosen to put more non-violent offenders in jail for longer periods, and more of our fathers and mothers in prisons far away from home.
Case in point, one line item which would not suffer on the budgetary chopping block is prisons — a $186 million increase. As neighboring states are reducing prison costs and enhancing public safety, Pennsylvania has increased its prison spending. The state spends $30,668 per prisoner annually, but only $10,723 per student. Are we telling our children that if they fail in life because they can’t get a good education or find a decent job, there’s always room for them in prison?
Gov. Corbett’s “reality-based budget” is based on an alternate reality where Pennsylvanians believe they can slash and burn our investments in the future, build more prison cells, ignore new revenue sources, and give tax breaks to corporations that don’t need them.
Call the governor’s office at 717-787-2500 and tell him you don’t want cuts to social services, while he gives billions in tax breaks to corporations.