Pa. Teachers Union Demands Higher Taxes to Fund Schools

Tuesday, 13 Mar 2012 05:18 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union wants lawmakers to increase public-school funding through charging more fees for gas drilling and by imposing new taxes. The Pennsylvania State Education Association, in its “Sounding the Alarm” report, says years of poor funding and the recent recession have put the state’s schools in financial trouble, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
 
Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed state budget this year requires school districts to raise taxes or cut programs and jobs. But the teachers union says Corbett’s plan cuts education funding as well, because it does not include grants to pay for full-day kindergarten and other early-childhood programs.
 
“The governor just refuses to look at revenue that’s sitting out there to fund our schools,” union President Michael Crossey said. “We know last year that the governor refused to look at anything but cuts. We think that’s unconscionable. He’s doing the same thing this year.”
 
Crossey said the union is calling for Pennsylvania officials to bring in more money by raising natural gas drilling taxes. He also wants Pennsylvania’s companies to incorporate in-state rather than in Delaware, where many go to avoid Pennsylvania state taxes.
 
The union also is calling for taxes on cigars and smokeless tobacco, and for forcing local vendors to turn over their full sales tax collections to the state.
 
However, the Department of Education maintains more money is not needed, and taxpayers already spend $26 billion each year through federal, state, and local taxes.

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