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August 30, 2014 Letters to the Editor

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In a recent survey by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, 30 percent of respondent school districts cut 4,200 teaching positions through layoffs, attrition and vacancies left open in the 2012-13 school year.

Add to that 14,590 teaching jobs lost in 2011-12 after Gov. Tom Corbett and the Legislature reduced state education spending on public schools by $854 million. Many tell me that Corbett is as good as gone. I’ve been also informed even state law enforcement is peeved at Corbett about the cuts.

Before we assume he’s gone, I say, voter beware. In 2009, the Legislature and then-Gov. Ed Rendell and his Secretary of Revenue Tom Wolf approved a budget that used about $650 million in federal stimulus money for education, although the state cut spending on education by about $350 million. Hmmm!

Since Corbett was elected governor, the federal stimulus money dried up. That onus is on the Obama administration. Remember, you and I and others who work — and I emphasise work — are the source of all government revenue.

Corbett’s opponent Tom Wolf claims he will stop the financial carnage of the educational system by getting more tax funding from the state’s growing economic prosperity. Did he say prosperity? According to 24/Wall St.com, Pennsylvania’s economic growth this year was the fourth worst in the nation. The GDP of the sixth largest state in the nation grew an anemic 0.7 percent; and 1 year population change was 0.07 percent (third lowest). It’s no wonder our youth are moving to more prosperous states like Colorado and North Carolina for good jobs. Incidentally, the highest growth states have the lowest taxes, but the highest per capita tax revenue. When businesses and industries grow, so do jobs and tax revenue. A no-brainer, right?

Sure, Wolf will get you more educational money, but he hasn’t exactly disclosed where that will come from, until now. In a recent interview, Wolf suggested that profits received from drilling Marcellus Shale will be just the ticket to pay for the much needed revenue to pay teacher’s pensions and other needed educational costs.

Here we go again, robbing Peter to pay Paul. It appears that our state legislators will tax and spend us into oblivion just to keep their jobs and all their perks.

The game plan of both parties is to keep the uninformed masses happy with free stuff. For example, while the state continues to flounder fiscally, our brilliant legislators will offer all school students free lunches no matter whether they can afford it or not. How stupid is that? Or is it a brilliant political move to buy votes?

Goodness gracious! As voters, are we that naive to believe tax revenue from more new taxes will create sound economic growth?

Where’s my free lunch?

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