To the Editor:
Tom Cardella really knows how to make a point with clear imagery (“Corbett’s Meatballs,” Sept. 4). By comparing Corbett’s education budget to a couple of meatballs, he falls just short of calling the governor himself a “meathead.”
Here is how those meatballs translate into simple numbers: As Cardella notes, Pennsylvania lost its federal stimulus money, equivalent to a $1-billion “meatball,” which former Gov. Ed Rendell had applied mostly to education. When Corbett took office and failed to restore that extra $1 billion in his 2011-’12 budget, causing larger class sizes, cuts to programs like Head Start, and many layoffs, while passing the costs of basic education to local school districts. He simply blamed the loss of the stimulus for the shortfall. Not his fault or his worry.
Then in his ’12-’13 budget, Corbett touted a “hike” of $122.5 million for basic education — the little meat patty in place of the meatball in Cardella’s analogy. While it was the first increase in two years, it was not enough to offset all the cuts from his previous budget. Districts across the commonwealth had two choices: To raise local taxes or tolerate austerity. Certainly, Philadelphia has experienced major cuts in programs, in closed schools and forced layoffs because of this insufficient budget.
Again, in ’14, Corbett bragged about a record-setting education budget but failed to inform voters that it includes such items as nearly $100 million in “opportunity scholarships” for private and parochial schools, an extra $105 million to restore previous cuts in the school employee’s pension fund, and more than $480 million to pay for employees’ Social Security. Not much left over for ground beef.
So, we are still left with a choice of the status quo or a new governor who promises enough meatballs to make a filling sandwich.
Gloria C. Endres
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