Tom Corbett

Under Attack in Pennsylvania

Newly elected governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, has announced some of the fiercest austerity measures Pennsylvanians have ever seen. Hardest hit in his meager $27 billion budget are education and public sector jobs. His budget cuts state education funding by $2 billion, including $550 million dollars in cuts to K-12 education. So if public schools want to maintain the same performance, which is already lackluster due to the lack of funding–Philadelphia has a graduation rate of just 50 percent–they are going to need to raise local property taxes to make up for it. This amounts to a tax hike for working class people who are already squeezed by this tough economic situation.

Higher education faces even more horrific cuts, with Corbett announcing a $650 million cut, which means funding for state and state-related universities including Penn State, Temple, and Pitt, among many others, will be cut by 50 percent! Does Corbett think systematically destroying the education system of Pennsylvania will lead the state into prosperity? The Governor clearly wants to balance the budget on working class people’s backs, and if this means making already insanely high tuition rise by 20 percent or more, and getting rid of many public school programs then so be it.

Along with these vicious attacks on education, Corbett is also taking aim at the state’s public sector workers, following in the tradition of Scott Walker. Other Republicans, such as Chester County’s Curt Shroder, have said, “Unless (state union workers) want to see some Scott Walker-style justice, they’d better take this seriously.” This is a threat to the public sector and all workers. They are in effect saying, “If you don’t accept these cutbacks we’ll make sure you never have any say in the matter ever again!”

The new budget will eliminate 1,500 state jobs, not including the forced layoffs that will “trickle down” to local governments. His state budget places the burden on the local budgets, so when you look at state cuts, even though it seems very bad, it is in reality much worse than what they are telling us. In the upcoming period we will see our teachers, professors and staff losing their jobs in the face of austerity.

Students and workers need to unite and organize a bold and militant fight back against these attacks, which affect all Pennsylvania workers. The WIL is participating in this struggle. You should too! Join us in the struggle for a better Pennsylvania and a better world!


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