Dermody: Four years of Corbett’s disastrous agenda leaves huge hole in Pennsylvania’s budget

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody outlines the grave financial outlook for Pennsylvania following mid-year budget briefing

For the past four years, House Democrats have vigorously fought against Gov. Tom Corbett’s misguided agenda. We fought against his devastating cuts to our schools because we realize Pennsylvania’s children deserve the best education possible. We fought against his handouts of corporate tax breaks to prevent Pennsylvania’s middle class from shouldering too much of a tax burden. We advocated for a reasonable Marcellus Shale tax, as every other gas producing state has, to ensure drillers are paying their fair share for our resources.

Gov. Corbett and his allies in the legislature wanted nothing to do with our ideas. They continued to ram their gimmicky budgets through the General Assembly without thinking about how it would impact Pennsylvania’s future.

Now, we know. And the impact is potentially devastating.

On Dec. 3, Budget Secretary Charles Zogby presented his annual mid-year budget briefing and confirmed that we are looking at a nearly $2 billion structural deficit for the 2015-2016 budget. This is thanks to a Corbett approved budget filled with smoke-and-mirrors, full of one-time funding transfers and held together with scotch tape.

Corbett’s corporate tax cuts and refusal to make Marcellus Shale drillers pay their fair share has cost us billions, and what do we have to show for it?

A job creation ranking that is nearly dead last in the country. Five credit downgrades in the past two years. Thousands of our neighbors still searching for jobs promised by Gov. Corbett.

Thanks to the ill-advised Republican agenda of the past four years, Pennsylvania is facing a stark reality. We must work diligently to undo the severe damage that has been done to our state.

House Democrats and I look forward to working with Gov.-elect Tom Wolf and the entire General Assembly to right the ship and move Pennsylvania towards the fresh start that you deserve.