Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale calls the state’s soon-to-be-signed 2011-2012 budget short sighted and balanced on the backs of working families. The group is decrying cuts in basic education, higher education, and job training.
“In a time when we are trying to build a world class education system and businesses keep talking about the needed for an educated workforce and a trained workforce, this budget goes exactly the opposite direction,” said Bloomingdale, “This budget doesn't create jobs, it destroys jobs.” The AFL-CIO argues that lawmakers should have looked at increasing the size of the budget from the approved $27.15 billion.
Bloomingdale said the first source of additional revenue should have been the nearly $700 million dollars in surplus income generated in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Bloomingdale would like to see the loopholes in the corporate net income tax closed and a tax on shale gas extraction enacted as ways to boost the size of the budget.
Along with the cuts in basic and higher education, Bloomingdale points to cuts at the department of Labor and Industry as being detrimental to the state. “A lot of that money went to help companies… who were trying to get a trained workforce and had special needs. L and I would provide them money to get their workforce trained,” said Bloomingdale. The nearly $6 million line item for training was completely removed from the budget.
AFL-CIO officials say they will hold the lawmakers who voted yes on the budget accountable for their actions. “We’re going to be working over the year to make sure the general public understands what government does, I think too often these folks in Harrisburg can make these cuts because most of the tax payers don’t really understand how government impacts them,” said Bloomingdale.