HARRISBURG, March 16, 2016: State Senator Art Haywood issued the following statement after voting against HB 1801:
“Today’s vote was painful. With anti-tax leadership, the Senate was handed yet another smoke and mirrors budget bill. We have schools, universities and agricultural programs in desperate need of state funding, but what we voted on today was a spend-only bill that does not match our available funds. This is because we have leadership that refuses to increase taxes to pay for our state’s basic resources, even while it commits to spending money we do not have.
Today’s budget legislation would leave Pennsylvania $290 million short in revenue for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Within less than four months, it would leave our state $1.9 billion short, as Republicans admit. With that kind of deficit, we would be forced to make additional cuts to education in the months ahead. The Governor’s office has calculated that this deficit would lead to 23,000 teacher layoffs across the commonwealth while raising property taxes and limiting senior services. I cannot in good conscience vote for legislation that would fund education for three months only to gut school funding by the time summer arrives.
Funding education is one of my highest priorities and we must make the necessary investment in these pathways to opportunity across the state; but, you cannot make an investment with money you do not have. That is why I have supported the Governor’s revenue proposals – like a shale severance tax – to fund education. The Governor is committed to keeping Pennsylvania’s schools open, and a stopgap budget that funds education while raising revenue is the best path forward.
I do not live in a fantasy world where we can invest in education with invisible money. I will continue to fight for Pennsylvania’s education funding, and I refuse to settle for the shameful trickery that this bill represents.”
Contact: Melissa Ostroff