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Let Them Eat Pie!

Activists delivered pies to the offices of Governor Tom Corbett and state legislators today to send a message about the proposed budget.

"These were small pies," said Steve Drachler, Executive Director of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania and Co-Chair of the Better Choices Coalition. "They're small because we believe that the governor's budget proposal is too small. We believe that the pie should be made bigger so that Pennsylvania can meet its obligation to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, our children, and the elderly."

Corbett's proposed 2012-13 budget is about $27.1 billion. It calls for a $338 million boost to education spending after $818 million was cut from the current budget. The proposed budget also reduces $319 million from public welfare which provides cash assistance benefits to about 60,000 Pennsylvanians.

The spending plan holds the line on the corporate net income tax but calls for the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax, which is a levy on a company's value or assets. Drachler said the governor is "balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable persons," and that if the state closed tax loopholes, it would have more to spend on social programs.

According to Drachler, if the state closes the "Delaware Loophole," where corporations with subsidiaries that operate in Pennsylvania register them in Delaware to avoid paying Pennsylvania's corporate net income tax, it could collect several hundred million dollars. He said by delaying the reduction in the casino tax and setting up enforcement of tax laws the state would gain $140-$150 million dollars.

"Go after the money that's already there," said Drachler. "Go after the money that is rightfully Pennsylvania's, that is important to support education and very important to support our vulnerable."

He said they are not asking the governor to introduce a tax hike, but put in place a system of "tax fairness" where corporations that operate in the state pay taxes.