(HARRISBURG) Attempting to clear up misunderstandings and misinformation being spread about the Senate-passed state budget and funding for public education, Sen. Gene Yaw and the leadership of the State Senate have sent memos to superintendents and school board members across the 23rd Senatorial District, as well as the entire state.
“In May, the Senate passed Senate Bill 850,” Yaw said. “It included cuts to a variety of very good programs; however, education was not among those cuts. Our bill ensures that every school district in Pennsylvania received an average increase of 7 percent using state dollars and federal stimulus funds given to states.
“Since its passage, the Administration and some school district officials across Pennsylvania have been spreading misinformation regarding the increases.”
According to a memo sent by the Senate Leadership, SB 850 “does not cut the Basic Education Subsidy as some have indicated. In fact, SB 850 level-funds the Basic Education Subsidy and appropriates enough state dollars to meet federal Stabilization Fund ‘maintenance of effort’ requirements.”
The Administration launched an effort using school boards across the state to criticize SB 850 and its funding levels going to public education. The next objection raised targeted the state park system and how, if this bill is approved, DCNR officials would be forced to close all state parks, Yaw said.
“Now criticisms are focusing on the libraries in Pennsylvania as well as the economic development programs, which according to statements will hurt Pennsylvania’s chance to compete for new businesses if the cuts aren’t restored,” Yaw said. “With all of the rhetoric, the Administration has offered no real solutions to the projected $3.3 billion deficit.”
“I am pleased the governor has realized that this budget deficit will be higher than what he anticipated and that he has indicated that he will need to make further cuts to balance the budget,” the 23rd District Senator said.
“The fact is, Pennsylvania is facing a more than a $3.3 billion deficit. It is important at this time to concentrate on developing a budget that will provide funding for the core governmental operations necessary to run the state, and then in the future, once the economy has recovered, we can once again begin looking at the many special programs that have been instrumental in strengthening Pennsylvania as a Commonwealth,” he said.
“I do not support all of the cuts that have been proposed, but these are unusual circumstances we are facing,” Yaw added. “As I have said in the past while running for this office, many times I would hear people say please look at cutting programs before raising taxes. Americans want fiscal integrity restored to its government.”
Yaw is encouraging people to log onto senatorgeneyaw.com to view the memos issued by the Senate leadership and view the rationale used in establishing this particular spending policy.
Memo to Superintendents
Memo on Senate Bill 850
Memo to School Board Members
Contact: Rita Zielonis