Thursday, May 19, 2011

Democrats Bash GOP Budget Plan

A group of state and local Democrats blasted the House Republican budget proposal today, saying it cuts too deeply into education spending.

Allegheny County Councilman Jim Burn says many local school districts stand to lose as much as a quarter of their state funding under the Republican budget.

State Senator Jim Brewster of McKeesport says on top of the budget cuts, local school districts would have to spend more if lawmakers pass a plan to enact school vouchers.

“If 100 students at McKeesport want to go to a school within ten miles, McKeesport’s got to write a check. Let’s say it’s 10,000 [dollars] a student. So now I’ve got to write a check for 10,000 times 100; you do the math,” says Brewster. “Now if I’ve already eaten into my fund balance because of cuts in the budget, where do I get the million? I’ll give you the answer: you’ve got to raise local taxes.”

Allegheny County Representative Dan Frankel says House Republicans also refuse to acknowledge that the state will earn anywhere from half a billion to a billion dollars more than anticipated this year. He says that money should be used to mitigate education cuts.

The budget proposal is expected to be taken to the House floor on Monday.

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