Pa. Budget in Crisis: Smoke and mirrors will not lift state to new heights

Four years of misguided Republican priorities culminated in late June with the passage of a smoke-and-mirrors budget filled with one-time fixes.

Now Pennsylvania faces a financial crisis. Pennsylvania likely needs more than $2 billion just to balance next year's budget. That figure doesn't include additional revenue necessary to begin restoring GOP education funding cuts that resulted in higher local property taxes, larger class sizes and the loss of 27,000 school jobs.

The $2 billion budget shortfall is the same amount that Republicans have given away the past four years in corporate tax breaks. Those $2 billion in giveaways blew a hole in the budget without delivering the promised level of jobs. Pennsylvania is among the bottom among states in job creation.

House Democrats stand ready to help give Pennsylvania a fresh start. The 2015-16 budget is an opportunity to reexamine how the state generates revenue and how it is distributed.