Monday, March 19, 2012

Twisting Arms

In 2011, Gov. Corbett's budget included severe cuts for higher education. His proposal, (at that time) called for as much as 50% for some universities.

There was an outcry over the cuts.  Corbett's response was to tell his critics to go frack themselves.

Corbett: Schools should drill - Some Pennsylvania universities should consider drilling for natural gas below campus to help solve their financial problems, Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday.

The Erie Times-News reported that Corbett made the suggestion during an appearance at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees at Edinboro University.
Corbett said six of the 14 campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are located on the Marcellus Shale formation, part of a vast region of underground natural gas deposits that are currently being explored and extracted."
While the final budget cuts to education weren't that draconian in 2011,  Corbett is at it again this year.

Corbett's current budget proposale includes even more cuts to education.

" Gov. Tom Corbett proposes major cuts to higher education
Published: Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is seeking to trim $330 million, or 20 percent, from 14 state-owned universities. He also wants to reduce aid to Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University by about 30 percent.

It marks the second straight year Corbett has proposed slashing funding to the schools.
State colleges and universities say they won't be able to easily absorb their cuts. Temple has already cut $76 million from its operating budget in three years, University President Ann Weaver Hart said."
One can not help to wonder if these types of cuts are a form of arm twisting to force schools to open up their campuses to gas drilling as a way to make up for lost funding.

"We are reducing the funding to education because we do not have the money — it is that simple,” the governor said.  “And I ask anybody who talks about [the fact that] we’re reducing education, from the education side, to tell me where would you have me take it from?  Would you have me take from the social services?  Would you have me take it from law enforcement?"

His cavlier attitude towards education seems pretty apparent, especially when you consider the recent passage of the Voter ID Act which is estimated to waste as much as $11 million dollars for training poll workers, public information and hiring of additional election staff.

If Corbett can find the money for a Republican Party power grab, he can certainly find the funds to problem support education.

The other little nugget buried in Corbett's budget is the permanent and total elimination of the Farmland Preservation program.  The Farmland Preservation program receives about $20 million annually from the tax on cigarettes.  

Without this aid, many Pennsylvania family farms will be struggling even more than they already do.   Farmers, who are concerned about producing healthy foods, may be forced to sell their farms or reluctantly lease to the gas industry.

While Corbett hasn't come right out and told critics to go frack themselves -- his budget certainly does.

1 comment:

  1. Corbett needs to be VOTED OUT and other Republicans. And I am a Republican.