House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) Tuesday issued the following comments regarding the budget update provided by Gov. Tom Corbett:
"It was very disappointing to hear the governor give no real update on the status of budget negotiations when we are less than two weeks from the budget deadline, other than to admit that the budget probably will not be done on time.
"Gov. Corbett started by blaming the federal government for the nearly $1.5 billion budget shortage that he has created. For three years he has blamed the federal government, previous governors – everyone but himself for the budget mess we are in. Other states lost federal stimulus money, too. But most of them have managed to return to balanced budgets and even surpluses.
"The governor blamed pension costs for driving up school property taxes but ignored the $1 billion he cut from school funding his first year in office. If he had simply left school funding alone when he took office, schools would have $3 billion more today to invest in educating children AND making their pension payments.
"The governor did not address revenues at all in his statement: not the $2.1 billion the state has failed to collect because of corporate tax cuts we couldn't afford; not the hundreds of millions of dollars lost to tax loopholes such as the Delaware Loophole; not his continued rejection of a fair Marcellus Shale tax in line with every other major gas-producing state.
‘Just today, a report came out showing that the Marcellus drillers are paying the same level of Pennsylvania taxes they were before the shale boom in Pennsylvania, and most are paying only a fraction of the state taxes they are supposed to be paying.
"Even with the state in the perilous condition it is in, it seems clear Governor Corbett is intent on once again making this budget one based on ideology, not sound policy. At this time, Pennsylvania cannot afford that."
NewsClips:Corbett Prepared To Miss Budget Deadline