Students must stay informed and voice their concerns over the proposed 2011-12 budget.
Although many noted Gov. Tom Corbett’s kept promise not to raise any taxes, it was the governor’s spending cuts that raised eyebrows statewide following his proposed 2011-12 Pennsylvania budget release on March 8.
Among the 1,184 pages of the Republican governor’s proposed budget were the layoffs of 1,500 state jobs, reducing Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals by $150 million and cutting option benefits to the state’s poorest citizens.
Other cuts in state funding hit programs such as family services, domestic-violence prevention and mental- health services.
However, the primary concern for students, parents, faculty and administrators is undoubtedly the governor’s cuts in education funding.
Corbett’s budget would reduce basic education funding for state public schools – including funding and grants to school districts for charter schools, prekindergarten, full-day kindergarten and other school district programs – by more than $1 billion.
Both the funding for the 14 universities that comprise the State System of Higher Education and the four state-related institutions, of which Temple is one, would lose more than 50 percent of funding.
As Ashley Nguyen reports [“Gov. Corbett dishes sparing helping to Cherry & White,” Page 1], the $82.487 million in appropriations Temple would receive under the governor’s proposed budget would have a major impact on students.
The Temple News urges students to contact legislators and voice concerns about the budget’s potential impact on higher education.
In addition to contacting legislators, students can sign the “Stand with Temple” petition at https://thepetitionsite.com/3/stand-with-temple/. At the time of publication, the petition has reached 6,599 signatures as of press time.
Showing support for Temple and the other state-related colleges and universities is paramount.
The governor, state senators and representatives should also take the time to look over the budget proposal and look for ways to lessen the devastating blows from these funding cuts.
For example, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in a March 9 article that Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax on drilling companies. The chances of a Republican-controlled Harrisburg makes imposing such a tax – which State Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Del.) told the Inquirer could “generate $200 million a year” – is slim, but these are the kinds of areas legislators can explore to have a truly balanced budget.
Corbett does have to deal with a $4 billion deficit, but all avenues must be considered in order to balance the budget without compromising the state’s future leaders.