|Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett: An example of the|
kind of garbage big corporations are funding into
office. (Photo from Center for Media & Democracy
Since he was elected into office in the Republican wave of 2010, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has pursued an agenda straight out of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s playbook.
Corbett led the effort to adopt one of the strictest voter ID laws in the nation (a measure later halted by the courts); signed new “Stand Your Ground” legislation based on the ALEC/NRA model; supported ALEC bills to undermine the federal Affordable Care Act; and backed ALEC-inspired legislation geared toward making it harder for consumers to seek justice in Pennsylvania courts. Like ALEC, Corbett has consistently opposed minimum wage increases and attacked unions, this year with a verbatim ALEC “Pay
check Protection” bill. Now he is attempting to privatize the state’s pension plan, another ALEC priority that would gamble the saved retirement of teachers and other public employees on Wall Street. But it is Corbett’s corporatist schools agenda that is haunting him today. Corbett cut $1.1 billion from education in his 2011 budget, and since taking office he has attempted to starve the state as well, signing legislation that cut taxes on businesses by about $1.2 billion, reports the Washington Post
Corbett and his allies in the state legislature have dished up bill after bill from the ALEC library to create new voucher schools, further subsidize charter and cyber schools, demonize teachers, and weaken unions. Hardest hit have been the children, especially in cities like Philadelphia. One-third of the cuts in the 2011-2012 budget fell on the Philadelphia school district, resulting in the closure of 23 schools, the firing of over 3,000 staff, and a big jump in class sizes.
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