What are you doing on Tuesday, June 25th? Our new coalition – called Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh – is partnering with other groups around the state for a large rally in Harrisburg. (Philadelphia is planning to send ten bus loads of people!) This will be right at the time the legislature is negotiating the final state budget and we need to be there to tell them to put students, schools, and communities first.
This week Republicans in the House refused to allow budget proposals from Democrats to come to a vote, effectively keeping the old Republican budget plan on the table. As you will recall, that plan puts $100 million back in the public education budget, but gets us nowhere near the almost $2 billion our students have lost these past two years. (See “Budget Talk.”)
The Post-Gazette reports that the Democrats “would have increased spending $378 million over the Republican budget, mostly on K-12 education but also on colleges and universities and on various human service programs.” Rep. Joe Markosek of Monroeville, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, called the House Republican plan “a budget of missed opportunities” and said it “just continues the misery for a lot of people in this commonwealth.” [Post-Gazette, 6-11-13] This is the absolute truth.
We’ve got to get on the bus and go to Harrisburg to tell our legislators what two years of draconian cuts have done to our schools. It doesn’t have to be this way. They could vote right now to freeze the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax. The state has been rolling back this corporate tax and plans to completely eliminate it by next year. But if lawmakers freeze the tax at 2012 levels, the state could raise around $390 million. [PBPC, 5-29-13] That’s enough to pay for the Democrat’s budget plan – and then some.
State budgets are about priorities. And this budget hurts kids. We have no choice – we have to fight back. Please consider getting on the bus on June 25th! Our coalition partners have paid for the trip, and will even provide snacks. It will be fun. All you have to do is show up: busses leave at 7:30AM from the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers parking lot on the South Side (10 S. 19th St.) and will return that evening.
To hold your spot, please call the PFT at 412-431-5900 and put your name on the list. Tell them you are a Yinzercator and you’re ready to take it to Harrisburg.