HARRISBURG, June 29, 2011— State Senator Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) cast a negative vote against the 2011-2012 state budget (House Bill 1485) which passed the state Senate last night. 

In voicing his displeasure for the $27.15 billion state spending plan, Farnese said that the budget puts the needs of Pennsylvania families second, while pandering to the desires of big businesses and the Marcellus Shale industry.

“The reality of this budget is that it shuts out Pennsylvania families, school children, working men and women and seniors,” Farnese said.  “It is a budget that was devoid of any negotiation or compromise.”

The budget was negotiated by Republicans in the Senate and House and the Corbett Administration without input from Democrats. 

Farnese said that due to the more than $900 million in education funding cuts that are contained in the budget the spending plan will result in local tax increases, teacher layoffs and significant pain for Pennsylvania families.

“This budget will be passed on time, but it is poorly crafted and filled with pain for working Pennsylvanians, seniors and our school students,” Farnese said.  “It is clear that the Corbett Administration has chosen to step aside and allow the essential needs of the people to be trampled.”

Farnese added that school districts will be forced to cut programs, furlough teachers, significantly increase class sizes and stand by helplessly while the quality of education deteriorates. 

“The trickle-down effect of this budget will be devastating to Pennsylvania families,” Farnese said.

Despite modest restorations to uncompensated care, hospitals will continue to be burdened by budget shortfalls, the south Philadelphia lawmaker said.

“Not only will hospital services deteriorate, but the 41,000 Pennsylvanians who relied on the adultBasic health insurance program will be left without access to quality health care” Farnese said.  “These people have been stripped of their benefits – families have been shut out of quality care.”

Farnese said that this budget falls short of other promises the Corbett administration made including reform and transparency. 

Farnese who has been a strong advocate of PA Works — the Senate Democratic caucus’ job creation plan — said that the budget fails to fund programs that help put people back to work.   

“Where is the jobs program in this budget,” Farnese questioned.  “There is none.  The Senate Democrats have a plan, yet we have not been invited to the process.  Without quality job training and business development programs, Pennsylvania’s economy will continue to suffer.”

Farnese also expressed his frustration with the failure to include a Marcellus Shale fee or an energy extraction tax in the budget package.

“Some have been given a free ride in this budget.  This budget is confirmation that Republicans are out of touch with how badly the people of Pennsylvania are hurting.”

Farnese added that while he understands the need for fiscal conservatism in times of economic distress, he cannot support a budget that is balanced on the backs of hard working Pennsylvanians, while leaving a $700 million revenue surplus on the table.

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