Governor Rendell signs budget, touts education funding increases
Just a few hours ago, Gov. Rendell signed the last state budget of his eight-year term. During a signing ceremony held at a school near Harrisburg, Rendell touted the budget’s $250 million increase in education funding, telling the assembled children "…this budget is for you." He also acknowledged that difficult cuts are inevitable this recession-battered year.
Just in case it hasn’t been reiterated enough, there are many issues left unresolved with this state budget. Rendell spoke to these issues in another ceremony today, where he made the case for a severance tax on natural gas extraction from PA’s Marcellus Shale. He argued that natural gas companies should pay their fair share of taxes to the communities and environments from which they derive their profits.
Levy-free natural gas extraction is just one of many enterprises that some progressive advocacy groups point at as beneficiaries of corporate loopholes and giveaways in Pennsylvania. Unless these potential sources of revenue are tapped, these groups protest that critical services for poor and vulnerable populations will continue to disappear.