I admit that I did not pay much attention to the election that put Gov. Tom Corbett in his post, but we are all paying for that apathy now as Corbett gives away Pennsylvania’s milk (natural gas) for free while neglecting the welfare of the cow (education, social services, etc).
Cranberry and surrounding area residents are currently experiencing tax hikes, firings and hiring freezes in the public education system—and annual tuition hikes for college students—while Corbett sells our natural gas at bargain basement prices, leaving residents with little more than speculative benefits.
In Corbett’s education plan for Pennsylvania, he states that he understands that economic growth and prosperity starts with education, which he claims to want to improve through increasing a student’s opportunity to leave a failing school district, and by “cutting the strings from Harrisburg.”
For the most part, I could not agree more.
Education plays an enormous part in the successful future of a community, especially if those educated then go on to remain within the community. (For Corbett’s full education policy click here)
A little more than one year ago, Corbett released his first budget, dealing a devastating blow to public and higher education and causing a palpable tension amongst those professors and assistant professors who had yet to achieve tenure.
Corbett was quoted in a WPXI article that he would separate the “must-haves from the nice-to-haves.” He removed $260 million in grants for elementary education and planned to cut a monstrous 50 percent from state-run universities.
Recently, the Some believe part of the problem is the increased popularity of charter schools, which do not have to meet the same requirements as public schools (teacher certification, approved learning material, etc). Others believe that pensions for teachers are a drain on public education funds.
In light of Corbett’s continued advertising to gas companies, it would seem that Corbett himself is confused about who is in need of government service.
Could there be an institution in this nation that is more “must-have” than public education, while a lucrative deal with natural gas companies would simply be “nice-to-have” unless said deal were to benefit the public education system directly?
Apparently, Gov. Corbett believes that private industries (specifically gas companies) are more in need than the public education system. It was recently leaked to the public that Corbett plans . This is a company that made $36 billion dollars just last year.
Corbett is betting—with no guarantee—that this tax cut will provide 400 jobs while sacrificing a potential gold mine in tax revenue. While these jobs may or may not arrive to Pennsylvania, the public education system is firing more and more employees while instituting hiring freezes across counties.
Why are we, as a state, granting private industries enormous tax breaks while West Virginia and Texas are generating two to four times more tax revenue per well?
This is tax revenue that could be saving jobs and improving the quality of public education (For more information on Corbett’s big business tax cuts, click here).
In order to placate the concerned constituents, Corbett enacted an “Impact Fee” on drilling companies that’s enforcement is optional to individual counties.
If enacted, Butler County is set up to receive $150,000 to $1 million locally while the rest goes back to state government. Something is better than nothing, but this nothing might as well be nothing considering Seneca Valley School District’s debt and expenses alone, and there is absolutely no guarantee that any of this money will go back into the public education system, which Corbett has declared a “nice-to-have.” (For more information, click here)
The whole situation is deeply confusing, and intentionally made confusing so that voters must spend hours researching the true intentions of their state government or rely on oversimplified headlines for their information.
Corbett knows who butters his bread, but he also knows that he needs his constituent’s votes to keep in a job. By giving the local governments this Impact Fee option, Corbett hopes to placate the masses while giving gas companies an ever freer reign over drilling locations.
Gov. Corbett has lost my support completely, as he seems to be selling us off to the highest bidder as our children and those in need are forced to sacrifice a quality public education that grows with support of the community, rather than its current state of shrivel as a result of neglect.
Pittsburgh has a booming health industry, as well as science and technology industries, closely tied to research universities such as Carnegie Mellon, Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh.
I understand that Pennsylvania and local communities could use this money, but PA has the goods—that without—these natural gas companies could not exist.
We need a governor with a vision for future industry endeavors who will guarantee jobs and an allocation of funds into our state universities and public education systems.