On May 12th, One Pittsburgh protested Corbett at the Pittsburgh Opera in the midst of an outrage about his cuts to education. The debacle brought national attention to Pennsylvania and Corbett’s policies.
Less than two weeks later, Corbett came under fire again in statewide protests against his budget. One Pittsburgh joined a diverse group of students, teachers, school workers and community members at the United Steelworks Building to march on Corbett’s office.
Having signed a pencil with the words “Stand for Children, Stand for Public Schools” the protest aimed to deliver the message directly to the Governor’s office.
Corbett’s office was – shockingly – unreceptive and closed the doors, refusing to hear from his constituents or offer an explaination for his refusal to fund public education. Having felt the pressure of public opinion in light of the shock from Philadelphia schools public closure and the outrage over being awarded as a supporter of the arts, Corbett seems to be backpedaling.
Recently, Corbett has argued that his cuts do not count because federal funding has run out, and that 40% of the state’s budget is education. This does not factor in for the fact that the rest of the state’s budget has been slashed in relation to education, that he has somehow found money to build and expand prisons, and that there was money to fund voter supression laws.
Even worse, 70% of corporations in PA do not pay any taxes because of loopholes, and PA is the only state that lacks an exctraction tax. Corbett has willfully handcuffed himself to a no-tax pledge, and as a result jobs are being lost and children’s education is suffering in order to please those who feel they are above paying their fair share.
Angered by his inresponsiveness the protest took to the street. Police arrived to disperse the crowd, but 11 protestors refused to leave, peacefully engaging in civil disobediance to prove that the issue, the funding of the future of children, was too important to walk away from.
The action caught the attention of almost all of Pittsburgh’s local news outlets, many of whom ran the story immediately as breaking news. Interestingly, soon after, the news also reported claims of dissent within Corbett’s administration and within his party.
Corbett is feeling the heat, and even his own supporters are worried about his inability to handle it. He has already announced that his chief of staff, William Ward, is resigning. His approval ratings are down, and he cannot defend his budget.
We are being heard, and we need to keep pressing the Governor on his budget. Please, support One Pittsburgh and watch for more developments as we fight for funding by all companies paying their fair share.
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