We began the day with an action at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce targetting the firm alliance between Governor Corbett and big business which has starved schools and enriched corporations. We were joined by Media Mobilizing Project and Common Cause. MMP highlighted the role of Comcast which while making record profits has reaped government subsidies and avoided paying both local and state taxes.
Back at the capitol, we joined our allies from Pittsburgh including One Pittsbugh, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and the Pittsburgh chapter of ACTION United, for a spirited demonstration in the House Corridor before marching to the site of the the sit-in outside the Governor’s office.
The vigil continued outside the Governor’s office as the House put the final touches on a budget full of one time gimmicks, accounting sleight of hand, continued phase out of business taxes, and no new revenue. Education funding, while increased slightly over last year, is substantially less then what Corbett promised earlier in his budget address. Philadelphia will get an estimated 20 million more from the new budget.
After the House voted to pass the budget, Corbett declined to sign it, still trying to blackmail legislators into passing his version of pension reform. At this point we decided to end our sit in. The one good thing about this budget is captured on the sign here:
This is jerry built budget that may well collapse because the revenue projections are not reality based. At best it kicks the can down the road to next year when, hopefully, a new administration will come in with the political will to fund schools and human services, tax the frackers, and go after corporate loopholdes and subsidies. That’s what we will be working for between now and next year.
We want to thank all the people who supported this sit-in – people from various parts of the state who came in for different events or, in some cases, for many days. Part of what made this worth the effort was the new relationships and solidarity we built across this very large and diverse state. We also want to thanks the unions and other organizations that contibuted meals and other material support that kept us going. We will offer a fuller report on what we did and what we think it accomplished later.