Corbett’s Election Year Education Audible

Tom-Corbett-portrait-loresGovernor Corbett delivered his fourth budget address to the state legislature today. The message is both an attempt by the Governor to outline this year’s legislative blueprint and ensure that this year’s address is not his last.

In order to help make that happen, Corbett unveiled an ambitious agenda that he hopes will turn around his poor poll numbers. The centerpiece of which is new funding for the Commonwealth’s schools including $100 million for public schools, $20 million for special education and $10 million for preschool.

“Every child in this state should be, ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to succeed, and my budget sets an agenda in that spirit,” Gov. Corbett stated. “Education is the largest single item in my budget. The increase I propose would bring direct state support of public education to $10.1 billion, more than 40 percent of state spending.”

The content of the address suggests that, at least to some extent, the Governor regrets the education cuts he pushed for at the start of the Administration. A recent Franklin & Marshall poll suggests that this initiative may have poisoned the well for Corbett among many voters. That poll asked the 72% of voters who only gave the Governor a fair or poor job rating why they had responded that why. 19% of them, the largest portion, said “education issues: cuts, teacher evaluations”.

The education cuts that he is often credited with were due to a decrease in federal stimulus money used for education.

The question remains, however, how will Corbett increase education spending without increasing the state’s deficit or raising taxes? That question has already prompted some reaction from the state’s Republican leaders.

“Where are they going to get this money? That’s what everyone is waiting to hear,” is what House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin told the Morning Call yesterday when news of the proposal first leaked out.

The Governor seemed to obliquely address this question earlier in this address.

“This budget represents how we have worked together to build a stronger Pennsylvania,” he said. “Because it’s not about how much we spend, it’s about how we invest precious tax dollars back into the people of Pennsylvania and our commonwealth’s future.”

Pennsylvania’s Democrats, however, were overall not impressed by the proposal. Just after the Governor finished, PA Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn released a statement criticizing Corbett’s fiscal policies and calling the address an election speech.

“Throughout his tenure as Governor, Tom Corbett has often preached fiscal responsibility as a road to recovery for Pennsylvania,” Burn wrote. “Yet the Commonwealth currently faces a deficit upwards of $1.4 billion. While both Democratic and Republican governors across the country have turned deficits into surpluses, Tom Corbett, a self proclaimed “fiscal conservative,” has mismanaged Pennsylvania’s budget.”

Whether Corbett’s education initiative will be adopted by the GOP legislature and earn the plaudits of voters remains to be seen and could have a significant effect on his chances in November.

3 Responses

  1. If you look at the line items, you’ll note that basic education funding is flat funded so every school district is receiving exactly the same amount it did last fiscal year. With inflation and ever-increasing costs for things like employee health care, it might as well be another cut. Perhaps this isn’t a pithy slogan or a nice sound bite, but the governor’s budget seems a good bit like window dressing with a bone or two thrown here and there..

  2. Audibles didn’t work out too well for Peyton Manning. Here is my take. The Corbett Administration has no SOUL. Corbett doesn’t have a raison d’etre to be governor and his team all have their own agendas or as I said many times, before, committing political necrophilia at Tom and Sue’s expense. Does anyone really believe Corbett is truly interested in education; that he is some kind of Bush compassionate conservative? This speech smells so entirely false. Bring on Bob Guzzardi who is AUTHENTIC and will not run a desperate racist campaign that will set back the Republican party for 10 years. If Corbett is the candidate, do you really believe he will be running as the compassionate conservative by mid-October? This race to the morgue is going racist. Blow the dog whistle now.

  3. “A budget is a moral document!”-Martin Luther King

    Here is what is wrong with education and the Corbett thinking…..

    In the vacuum of educational theory, it makes sense to elevate standards and gauge teacher competency according to measurable student progress. But actual schools contend with variables beyond their control, yet integral to achievement. We risk demoralizing an institution by measuring it in the absence of such consequential factors.

    Regardless, the reformers are on the march. No problem for me. My AP kids show up for class prepared and attentive. Their parents wouldn’t have it any other way.

    David Morris teaches English at North Allegheny Senior High School in McCandless (

    Read more:

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