Winning a People’s Budget

For years, Republicans have pushed Pennsylvania backward by passing shoestring budgets that benefit the rich and slash our most critical priorities. We’ve endured the dire consequences of state budgets that indiscriminately cut programming, and we know we’ll only suffer further at the hands of the Trump administration. From sweeping cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, to a $9.2 billion cut to education, and total elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program, Trump’s proposed federal budget would devastate and further cripple our commonwealth.

A state’s budget is reflective of its priorities, and our representatives are at work right now deciding what life will look like for us in Pennsylvania. The state budget is where our kids get educated or don’t get educated; it’s where our seniors get fed or go without. It is up to us to ensure that our representatives are prioritizing working families, our children, and our communities. Join us in demanding a People’s Budget for Pennsylvania.

We need to get Pennsylvania back on track. That starts with a state budget that reflects the priorities of the people: support for working families, properly funded schools, quality community services, good jobs, a robust transit system, and a safe and healthy environment.

Check out our advocacy toolkit to learn more about fighting for a People’s Budget.

Who do our representatives really represent?

That’s a question all Pennsylvanians should keep asking during this year’s budget cycle. Does your state rep work for corporations and the rich, or do they represent their constituents–residents of this state who need good education, quality health care, and family-sustaining wages.

We bailed out the big banks and corporations when they were struggling, but now corporations are making out with multi-million dollar profits and pay low taxes, if any at all. Taxes in Pennsylvania are upside down. While they’ve gone up on working people and the middle class in the last twenty years, taxes on corporations have been drastically reduced. It’s those cuts—not non-existent spending increases-—that account for the $3 billion deficit we need to close this year. The corporate tax reform supported by Governor Wolf would close the notorious “Delaware Loophole” that has long allowed 71% of multi-state and multi-national corporations that operate in Pennsylvania to avoid paying in-state taxes. Governor Wolf has also proposed a severance tax on natural gas drilling, partly paid by those who own the rights to and drill for natural gas: big corporations based in other states. It’s time for companies making millions off of Marcellus Shale to contribute to our economy. We pay taxes on what we earn in Pennsylvania, and so should corporations.

Before another public school closes, before we deny one more child the benefits of high-quality Pre-K, and before we strip one more family of essential community services, we must make big corporations and the Marcellus Shale pay their fair share.

What do we want?

A good education for all:

All Pennsylvania children deserve an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. Two-thirds of eligible 3 and 4 year olds in Pennsylvania can’t attend high quality Pre-K because our state is not investing in them. But we know that investment in early childhood education pays dividends; children who attend high-quality programs have a reduced likelihood of criminal behavior, higher levels of employment as adults, increased lifetime earnings, and less reliance on welfare. For too long, disparities in educational funding have allowed some children to succeed at the expense of others.

Family-sustaining wages:

In 2016, 150,000 Pennsylvanians didn’t make enough to keep food on the table for their families. And the data is clear: raising the minimum wage is not just the right thing to do; it’s a smart economic decision as well. Increasing wages raises employee morale, increases productivity, and improves quality of work. While the rich line their pockets, hardworking Pennsylvanians are trapped in our state’s poverty wage of $7.25/hour. It’s time raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.

Affordable healthcare:

If Trump and the Republicans get their way and repeal the ACA, including Medicaid expansion and the tax credit subsidies for insurance on the health care exchanges, it would cause more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians to lose their health insurance. More than 140,000 Pennsylvanians would lose their jobs, and state and local tax revenues would be cut by $2.4 billion over a five-year period. It will be on us to make sure our representatives pass a state budget that protects Pennsylvanians from the devastating blow Trump and his Republicans in Congress will deal Pennsylvanians. It will be up to state government to make sure Pennsylvanians can afford the critical health care they need.

The People’s Budget:

To get Pennsylvania back on track, we need a budget that reflects the priorities of working families. It’s time to hold corporations accountable so that we can provide quality community services, affordable health care, good, family-sustaining jobs, and a safe and healthy environment. It’s time for our representatives and senators to tell us whose side they’re on: Pennsylvanians, or corporations.