Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pennsylvania Teachers Hope Gov. Wolf Delivers on Education Funding

February 3, 2015 - Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service (PA)

PHOTO: The Pennsylvania State Education Association says it's looking to new Governor Tom Wolf and the state Legislature for ideas to raise and allocate more money for education. Photo courtesy of PSEA.
PHOTO: The Pennsylvania State Education Association says it's looking to new Governor Tom Wolf and the state Legislature for ideas to raise and allocate more money for education. Photo courtesy of PSEA.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - One of the key planks of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's successful gubernatorial campaign was restoring funding cuts made to education. Now that he's in office, Pennsylvania teachers hope he'll be able to deliver.

Mike Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, says education pre-K through grade 12 saw a billion dollars in cuts under former Gov. Tom Corbett, whom Wolf defeated by a wide margin. Crossey says educators, and parents, are expecting better.

"Anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania, the mandate is to restore the cuts to education," says Crossey. "We need to give the schools the resources they need so every child in Pennsylvania can get a world-class education."

He says $400 million could be generated if the Legislature repeals the so-called "Delaware loophole" that allows businesses that incorporate in Delaware but operate in Pennsylvania to avoid the corporate net income tax. Repeal attempts have been tried unsuccessfully in other years.

Crossey says teachers are concerned school funding could become a "tug of war" issue between a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature, but he thinks compromises can be reached.

"The voters voted for divided government, which allows for debate and dialogue," he says. "The voters did not vote for deadlock or gridlock in the state of Pennsylvania."

Another potential pot of education money could come from taxing natural gas development. A 3.2 percent tax has been proposed by a bipartisan handful of state lawmakers. Crossey points out Pennsylvania currently levies no extraction tax on the gas industry.

"If we would tax that at the same rate as West Virginia, that alone would bring in close to a billion dollars," says Crossey. "I think what we ought to be doing is looking at that one tax alone to restore education cuts."

Gov. Wolf proposed a five percent tax on gas developers during his campaign, and has mentioned it as a funding source for education. He has said it would also focus on improving safety in the gas industry.

1 comment:

  1. I am watching education in PA. I want school breakfasts and school lunches for all kids. Please continue your reporting on this issue.

    ReplyDelete