No Pennsylvania Governor in history has ever lost a campaign for a second term. It is ironic then that Governor Corbett, who is poised to make history as the first re-election loser, kicked off his campaign at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
According to a recent poll only 19% of voters in PA think that Corbett is doing an excellent job. In the Allegheny area that number is an even lower 14%.
To highlight this unpopularity One Pittsburgh joined with fellow Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh coalition partners Action United and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT), as well as concerned parents to protest Corbett for his awful education policy.
Corbett’s education policy is a big reason for his popularity with staggering cuts to funding being a key part of the budgets he’s passed.
According to PFT President Nina Esposito-Visigitis public education in PA has lost nearly $2.4 Billion in funding during his first term.
“In Pittsburgh alone,” she said “our school district…has lost $26.8 Million dollars every year that he has been governor.”
The cuts have been felt strongly by parents with children in public schools.
“My son asked me ‘Why did the schools close, Mom”, said Hazel Blackman an Action United member from Hazelwood.
Michelle Boyle, a One Pittsburgh activist with children enrolled at Pittsburgh Fulton K-5 expressed similar frustration.
“My daughters ask me ‘why don’t they have a French room, why don’t they have an art Room, why don’t they have a library, and why don’t they have a music room?'” she said “our music teacher is teaching in the cafeteria.”
Along with these common stories of school closings and lack of recourses, the education cuts have also cost PA a magnitude of jobs.
In the words of Sharon Ward of the PA Budget and Policy Center: “These spending reductions have led to the loss of 20,000 teachers, counselors and other school personnel.”
What could Corbett have done differently? For one, Corbett could have levied an extraction tax on the Marcellus Shale industry, like every single other gas producing state.
According to this State Impact NPR article: “At $50,000 dollars per well, Pennsylvania is the only gas producing state that imposes a fee instead of a tax directly on the amount of gas extracted from wells.”
Corbett could also lay off of tax breaks for corporations as evidenced by this Pennsylvania Budget and Policy article that states his 2012-2013 budget alone gives $3 Billion dollars in revenue.
It’s these kind of policies that make it hard to believe Gov. Corbett cares about people more than profit. That’s why One Pittsburgh and partners will continue to rally and highlight why Corbett needs to make history as “One Term Tom”.