Tom Corbett Is Mugging Philadelphia and Its Schools

“It’s in their hands,” is what the governor actually said about a deal that’s no deal at all.

Tom Corbett

The city of Philadelphia was the victim of an attempted mugging last night.

I don’t resort to that sort of language lightly. But I’m not sure how else to describe the staggering gall and grotesque irresponsibility now being showcased by the nation’s least popular governor and a radical Republican state House.


If you’re not familiar with the backstory, here’s a summary.

  • The state and the feds eviscerate school funding, particularly for Philadelphia schools.
  • The state largely ignores desperate pleas from the city and School District for more state funding for the state-run school district, even as City Council and the mayor raise local taxes, borrow money and antagonize their own voters in order to keep the schools functioning (and just barely, at that).
  • School kids and parents, meanwhile, face the prospect of a district that very well may be too underfunded even to open in the fall.

Until Sunday night, that’s where things stood. And then the attempted robbery.

Corbett and House Republicans summoned reporters, and demanded that city Democrats vote for pension reforms they deeply oppose, if they would see the school district funded this fall.

That would be hardball even if Corbett and the GOP were offering state funds in exchange for fulfilling their constitutional duty to fund education. But there is no new state money in play here.

All Corbett and House Republicans are offering in exchange for Democratic buckling on pensions is state authorization for the city to tax its own citizens more for cigarettes.

“If there is a positive pension reform vote there will be a cigarette tax for Philadelphia,” Corbett told reporters yesterday.

And then he actually said this, referring to the city’s delegation. “It’s in their hands.”

Really. He said that. Corbett. The same governor who presided over the fiscal meltdown of the city’s schools, the governor who appoints three out of five School Reform Commission members, the governor whose dismal approval ratings are inextricably tied to the financial struggles of districts across the state …

Now look, it’s true that Philadelphia’s delegation to Harrisburg is pretty much a mess right now. There are too many factions, too much corruption, too few Republicans (which makes the city far less powerful when the GOP controls Harrisburg) and the delegation’s leadership is still finding its way after losing the likes of Vince Fumo and John Perzel.

And city Democrats should be willing to compromise on pension reform and liquor privatization in exchange for meaningful and dependable new state investment in city schools. GOP leaders in the Senate, namely Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, have been pursuing just that sort of compromise with senior Philadelphia Democrats.

Corbett and House Republicans argue, accurately, that the state is short on cash, and the demands on the treasury intense. But the shortage could be eased, if not eliminated. Indeed, the GOP Senate was clearly willing to accept some new taxes and fees.

There’s the potential here for a grand deal, one that offers a lot to all sides. Republicans would get liquor privatization and meaningful pension reform, city Democrats would get more state and local funding for schools, as well as more state revenue overall.

Judging by yesterday’s press conference, Corbett has abandoned that course and sided with House Majority Leaders Mike Turzai.

So instead of a bargain that could have chipped away at some of the state’s bigger problems, we have the farce of a deal offered yesterday.

The state has set city schools on fire, and now — after the state-run district has half burned to the ground — graciously told the city it can put the fire out with the city’s own hose, so long as city Democrats give their nemesis Corbett a desperately needed victory ahead of the November election.

I wonder, are legislators from York and Franklin counties being held hostage to the same deal? Because the Senate is briskly moving a bill to give those communities the right to levy a hotel tax.

I wonder as well where Pileggi is. This isn't his work, and he was conspicuously absent from the Corbett / House shakedown yesterday. But Pileggi so far is not publicly resisting the governor or the House, and Democrats in the Senate say he's pulling bills that would give Democrats a chance to force an amendment vote on the cigarette tax. That's not the sort of leadership you'd hope to see from a legislator who understands Philadelphia's struggles better than most.

I have no idea what Philadelphia Democrats should do now. They can get rolled on pensions, and let the district scrape by with the least amount of funding possible to open in the fall. Or they can reject Corbett and Turzai’s offer, and, well, what exactly? Screw the kids?

Mayor Nutter and City Council are not the villains in this drama, but I hope if nothing else they have learned again the folly of tying local funding (the cigarette tax) for schools to approval from Harrisburg. When the schools need money again — and they will — the city should dip into sources that Harrisburg has no say over. Property taxes, for instance. Or cut the city’s own budget, and shift the savings to schools.

But it’s too late for that this year. And city Democrats must decide if it’s better to cave to Corbett and Turzai, or watch as Philadelphia schools continue to burn.

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  • Scott Jaster

    Im tempted to laugh at how slanted this article is. The new budget calls for a 314 million increase to the department of education. Maybe we should stop looking at corbett and start looking at how poorly the philly school system allocates their budget. 66 cents on every dollar goes toward school worker pensions while only 34 actually goes to the classroom. Democrates claim to care about our childrens’ education yet they only use them as a political tool. If these hypocrites truly cared about our children’s future they would look at this statistic instead of trying to cry out against Corbett. Corbett gave the dems a chance for a win win situation yet they refused and put our states budget in jeopardie only to muddy Corbett’s name. Thats just selfish

    • Scott Jaster

      none of the other school system face this problem, it seems like philly legislature is looking for someone to blaim when they should be blaming themselves

      • http://www.facebook.com/jibreelx JKR

        riddle me this… is there “Alternative Phila” in another parallel university where a urban school district works? Me thinks your anti-urbanism is showing because your demands are unrealistic. Urban Schools cost $$$$$ to operate, specially in global cities like Philadelphia.

        • liberal hater

          Low info garbage like you deflects the facts when presented with them just like you did loser.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jibreelx JKR

            beat it hayseed

          • liberal hater

            The Obama splooge drinking Cool aid shootin ghetto bangin trash talkin low life hatein the truth?

          • http://www.facebook.com/jibreelx JKR

            The ghetto is gentrifying. What the hell are you talking about?

          • Circa79

            do you think these people have been in Philly in the last ten years? They think they know philly because they watch the news and monitor what goes on from their couches.

      • Circa79

        that is a lie, many school districts have laid off workers and raised taxes due to state budget cuts. The SRC has no taxation authority. In most districts the school board can increase tax millage rates to deal with budget shortfalls. In wealthier districts there are less financial issues because they rely less on state aid due to higher real estate values and the higher tax revenues that come with those values. Most lower to middle income districts have suffered in some way over the last few years due to PA’s education funding debacle. Of course if you dont read you wouldnt know any of these things.

        • Dan

          Corbett hasn’t cut state funding for education. There’s a $1 billion whole left because Rendell took stimulus funds for education. The funds ran out. Corbett has increased the state’s share of spending on education.

        • liberal hater

          As stated above 2/ of city tax money goes to city employees and city government along with PSD and 34 pct of it goes to the students why? Something is wrong. Its called the union dirt balls taking to much of the pie

          • Circa79

            Labor is by far largest portion of cost for any service based organization genius. Has nothing to do with unions. When companies want to save money they cut workers because compensation of workers eats up most of their revenue. How stupid can you get? Wait, don’t answer that. You fit right in on this forum.

          • liberal hater

            WOW Read your comment Oh bright one!

          • Circa79

            Apparently you and several others thought this was Philly.com.

          • Hunter M.

            66 cents of every new dollar going to the school districts is going to the teachers egregious pensions. Public schools were made to service our children, not the teachers unions.

          • Circa79

            you are saying 66% of school funding goes towards pensions? If so you are a liar. Also, schools pay people that arent in unions in case you didnt know that. I think about half of the PSD’s employees are in the PFT. A whole host of people are not, including most who work in administrative and executive functions at 440 north broad.

          • Hunter M.

            66% of every NEW dollar, do your research before you throw around accusations such as “liar”. I might be so inclined to throw around accusations such as “stupid” or “uneducated”

          • Circa79

            WTF is a new dollar and where did you get your information? Post a link to back it up. And what is the baseline for “old” dollars vs “new” dollars? New dollars compared to when? Your statement is vague and baseless. Provide more details and explain what you’re talking about.

          • Hunter M.

            Excuse me, its 60 cents. My bad but still an outrageous amount. New dollar as in state revenue, whether it be from taxes or other sources. Here is a link….so much for “vague and baseless” more like “ignorant and uneducated”

            http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/07/corbett_wants_general_assembly.html

          • Circa79

            dude did you read the damn article? They are talking about the ENTIRE pension system for the entire state including state employees and all school employees state wide. How in the world does this even relate to the fact that there is no funding for philly schools? The state has a problem and they need to solve it. That does not preclude the state from providing funding for schools TODAY. The students who suffer have nothing to do with the previous decades of mismanagement and can kicking that led to pension crisis. And the reason why the 60% figure of “new” money is so large is because there is very little “new” money in the damn budget. Wake up.

  • Dan

    When republicans don’t compromise with Obama they are partisan. When democrats don’t compromise with Corbett on pension reform it’s Corbetts fault attacking Philadelphia schools. What twisted logic Phillymag.

    Corbett 2014.

    • liberal hater

      Agreed, It is the ghetto trash that is victimizing the PSD by not paying a penny in taxes

      • Circa79

        right- ghetto trash! Love that

  • Enuf already

    Slanted isn’t the word for it. Whatever happened to good journalists who reported the truth and facts. Septa owed the City 22M and the Mayor forgave it and signed a 30 year agreement forgoing all future tax payments. Colleges, hospitals don’t pay taxes which is ridiculous. There are others that are delinquent in the millions. The fraud in the welfare system. SSI, section 8 being given to those not citizens. Yet they’re so quick to stick their hands in our pockets. They get richer while the middle class gets poorer.
    Its time put a stop to the fraud, theft, waste, overspending, mismanagement, voting themselves salary increases, pensions, money to those coming here, etc.

    • http://cityjunto.com Patrick Kerkstra
      • Dan

        That’s probably Corbett’s fault too right?

        • Circa79

          Corbett is effectively in charge of the school district since the state runs the district. So yes at the end of the day its his fault. The mayor has 2 appointees on the SRC and council has effectively no power over the schools. Buck stops in Harrisburg and that was what Harrisburg wanted when the SRC was created over a decade ago when Street was in office.

          • Dan

            I was asking about tax delinquencies which are the city’s responsibility not of Corbett or SRC. I was saying the writer was blaming Corbett for everything. Yea and how did Street and Nutter work out? Why fo you support democrats who have destroyed the city?

          • Circa79

            What about delinquencies? THere have been numerous articles published about the issue and about the steps that are being taken. Per coverage in the paper progress has been made but much of the debt is uncollectable because people are dead or businesses are long gone. And collecting back taxes has nothing to do with the lack of a real funding formula. Period. What did I say about democrats? Nothing, that’s what. My statements have nothing to do with democrats. I don’t care what party Corbett represents, he as an individual has been a disaster for Philadelphia.

          • Dan

            Corbett has been a disaster for Philly? Every time they needed money he gave it to them. Corbett signed a huge transportation bill that will fund Philadelphia union jobs to fix Philadelphia roads and bridges. It was Rendell who put dirty casinos in the city. It was John Street who gave former Superintendent Ackerman a $1 million payday for failing the city’s kids. Corbett has been good for the city it’s just every time he does something it’s never enough. Now the city wants a severance tax on drilling so the shale can bailout the mismanagement of Philadelphia. Nevermind he’s already signed a $630 million impact fee.

          • Circa79

            Are you sane? The transportation bill is for entire state. How in the hell did you come up with theory that he supported that bill for Philly? Impact fee? That’s for counties that have drilling activity. Has nothing to do with the city. Ackermans contract was approved by src, not street. Src is controlled by state. I said nothing about casinos.

          • Dan

            And Philadelphia is in the state of PA, isn’t it? So thank Gov. Corbett’s leadership for fixing the city’s broken roads and bridges and the union jobs it brings. You said he was bad for the city he’s bringing jobs there!

          • Circa79

            A host of interest groups advocated for the PA transit bill that was long overdue. Rendell proposed doing something similar but was unsuccessful. Most of PA is outside of Philadelphia and obviously the overwhelming majority of PA’s roadways lie in the 66 counties not named Philadelphia. The notion that the bill was proposed as a bailout to Philadelphia unions is beyond absurd and makes no sense politically for corbett. I cant believe a corbett lover is touting his big government transit bill that raised fees and taxes as a mark of his competence. Are you serious?

          • Dan

            You said he was bad for Philadelphia and I cited huge improvements for Philadelphia. That’s the issue.

          • Circa79

            Do you work for Corbett? For the record the majority of PA residents support drilling tax. Corbett doesn’t because gas industry bankrolled his candidacy

          • Dan

            No but he has taxed them by an impact fee. Saying drillers aren’t paying up is ridiculous.

          • Circa79

            They aren’t. The impact fee has no bearing on overall state budget. Compared to other states the drillers aren’t paying squat. Don’t be ridiculous.

          • Dan

            Let’s talk facts. Liberals often cite Texas as the model, with a severance tax, but what you leave out is Texas doesn’t have a state income tax or state corporate tax. That’s all it pays. In PA, drillers pay the state corporate tax and the impact fee.

            Texas drillers pay severance tax. PA drillers pay several, corporate income tax & impact fee. Is this ridiculous? I think not, try facts. And that impact fee Corbett signed into law. It should help local communities, not be Philly’s slush fund.

          • Circa79

            Texas isnt the only state with a severance tax dude. In many states their income taxes are LOW because they get so much money from natural resource related taxes. Alaska is one such state. Corbett claims that if you tax drillers they will leave and yet in states all over they put up with much higher taxes than PA levies.

          • Hunter M.

            Yes there are other states with severance taxes, but PA’s corporate tax is comparatively high at 9.99% flat rate.

          • Dan

            But they cut jobs and doing business in PA is already more expensive than other states who drill. Arguing for more taxes isn’t going to be honest when comparing other states.

          • Hunter M.

            Drillers pay a 9.9% corporate tax. Compared to other states, drillers are paying out their ass here. Texas has no corporate sales tax, so yes a severance tax makes sense there. If you were to slap a 3-5% severance tax in Pennsylvania, drillers will be paying a ridiculously high overall rate, in comparison to other states. We need to keep Pennsylvania competitive in the LNG market.

          • Hunter M.

            Do you work for Tom Wolf? The 1%er who took a 20 mil buyout for his company, with total disregard for the 100s of employees he was putting out of work..

          • Circa79

            Have you seen me advocate for Wolf in any way other than to say he cant possibly be more inept than Corbett? No. Just by the fact he is not corbett I hope he cruises to victory. No one who refuses to bend to the will of the people and tax gas needs to go home. Corbett is doing all he can to stay unpopular so I’m convinced he would rather protect natural gas firms and lose than to do what needs to be done. The polls are clear, people support the tax. Do what the people want or get out of the governor’s mansion.

          • liberal hater

            What about 1/3 of the city population the receives fed, state subsidies and pays no taxes in real estate , city , sales or any other type of tax and yet these are the a z z clowns screaming poor mouth! get over your stupidity

          • Circa79

            how in the hell can any individual be exempt from state sales tax? If you live in this state you cannot escape sales tax, liquor taxes and gas taxes- they apply to everyone across the board. If you are a renter you dont pay property taxes directly, you pay them through your rent to the landlord.

          • Hunter M.

            You don’t pay rent if you are living in government assisted housing…

          • Circa79

            another lie. And even if it weren’t a lie only a minority of people within Philadelphia live in subsidized apts. As I noted before, the notion that anyone who spends money is “exempt” from paying state taxes is a flat out lie. And anyone who says otherwise is either confused or just stupid.

      • NickS1

        That was a good read. Thanks for linking that.

    • Circa79

      some of the things you are talking about are state laws. Colleges and non profits dont pay taxes anywhere in this state, not just in Philadelphia. The SEPTA real estate tax issue was in dispute and the city and septa came to agreement to drop the tax fight in exchange for SEPTA investing $50M into center city concourses. $22M is a drop in the bucket in terms of the PSD budget, the idea that the SEPTA payments would resolve this issue is absurd. I am surprised how many corbett defenders are on here- he is down 20 point in the polls to Wolf so obviously the vocal defenders here are in the minority. I hope he gets blown out in November. He has earned it.

      • Dan

        Yea can’t wait for Wolf to mess up the state like Rendell.

        • Circa79

          the state is already messed up. Wolf cant do any worse than Corbett. If he sleeps through his first term he will be improvement- at least he will do no harm.

          • Dan

            Yea Wolf can. Scenario gets worse: no pension reform, Wolf hikes taxes on drillers for school funding, drillers cut jobs and operations so we come up short funding schools and we have a deeper budget deficit and less jobs because Wolf taxes them out of the state.

          • Circa79

            until the gas is tapped out the drillers will be here. dont be foolish. That argument is one of the most ridiculous out there- but I understand you have to stick to the talking points. The gas is stuck in PA- its not moving to another state. Feel free to tell me which other state has chased on oil/gas production with extraction taxes. AL? TX? LA? The Dakotas? Let me know. BTW I guess you missed the fact that the GOP controlled legislature has done next to nothing to support corbett on pension reform. I guess you missed the part where corbett asked for Phila Democratic help because he doesnt have the votes in his own party to pass his reforms on pensions. But keep on pushing the notion that only republicans work hard to reduce pension liabilities. Right here in this city you have Nutter trying to sell PGW add funds to pension fund. Corbett’s party has both houses- they dont need any liberal, big government Dems to help them pass pension reform.

  • Joe Kennedy

    One Term Tom and his Tea Party Nazi Brethen are not regular folks. They work exclusively for the top 3% and against everybody else. Tom’s carpet bombing of the Phila. Children and their families is a “War Crime.” He wants to end all forms of unionization, Democracy and worker rights all under the guise of “Reform.” The elections of 2010 ushered in The Koch Bros. mentality of starving Public Schools so big business could make lots of free and easy money on the backs of the Urban Poor. Mutter and his scurrying ilk will sell their own people for a couple crumbs down the road. A POX on all their houses is fitting tribute to them.

    • Dan

      Yea those poor trial lawyers and piss poor hollywood libs are on welfare i tell you democrats don’t defend any rich people haha. Wait isn’t Tom Wolf worth multimillion’s? I thought democrats didn’t vote for rich white guys like Romney haha Hypocrite.

      Corbett 2014.

    • Hunter M.

      You can’t be serious. Tom Wolf is a wall street puppet. He accepted a 20 mil buyout, putting 100s of his employees out of work and on the streets. Those employees built his company from the ground up, but when the opportunity came he quickly traded their livelihoods for his own self gain. The unions need to be reigned in. We cant allow unions to dismantle the free market and decrease job availability. Get it together.

    • Dan

      The backs of the urban “poor”? Are you f’ing serious? Drive on 76 towards the stadiums-see the low income housing that is bigger and nicer than most working class houses in the city. See the poor’s solar panels! They are living off our backs as far as I’m concerned!

      • Joe Kennedy

        Dan–Solar Panels !!!!!!!!!!!!! Have another one on me. Actually………………….well, never mind.

  • Charliefoxtrot

    Amazing literary gymnastics on display here, to not detail AT ALL the pension crisis, truly amazing. Baghdad Bob just tweeted to say he’s a big fan of your work, Kerkstra!

    • Circa79

      what does pension crisis have to do with fair funding for schools?

      • Charliefoxtrot

        You….aren’t aware the pension crisis is set to strangle ed funding and torpedo the budget?

        • Circa79

          First of all the changes corbett wants wont make a bit of difference in the short term. He wants changes to NEW employee pension programs. That will do nothing to help with near term pension obligations. And the pension costs are not the primary factor here- the issue is there is no official funding formula for PA schools. The schools are funded as legislators see fit each fiscal year. It can be increased or decreased on a whim without taxpayers having any idea how the decisions were made.

          • Dan

            Is that why it is saving an estimated $11 billion to the PA taxpayer? If the democrats have a pension reform plan at all besides raising taxes on Pennsylvanians we would all love to hear it. Democrats in PA are the party of no!

          • Circa79

            what part of this is confusing you? Long term pension savings have NOTHING to do with an immediate budget crisis. The only way to drastically reduce CURRENT pensions costs would be to cut current payouts which Corbett is NOT advocating. He is talking about slowing the long term growth by changing the plans for NEW PEOPLE. I never said it isnt something that should be considered. I am saying that dealing with that issue has no bearing on providing adequate funding for Philly schools.

          • Dan

            He has provided adequate funding. The issue is long term the pensions will eat up the entire Pennsylvania budget and no money will be available for schools. Start to fix now and he’s offering a compromise fix the pension and he’ll give more money to the schools. Why won’t they compromise with Corbett?

          • Circa79

            They need a CURRENT funding solution, not a pension proposal that will save money in 2040. Use common sense. Corbettt isnt proposing anything that will help in the near term.

          • Dan

            I will concede that but he can’t the teacher’s union sues for any change to current pension. But I have not seen the final bill he did defer payments weeks ago.

          • Circa79

            You cant change terms of contracts on a whim based on the fact that the government chose to not make payments for decades. You should know that. You people are such hypocrites because when it comes to the rich you defend them zealously and claim anyone who thinks they can afford to pay more taxes is “jealous” of their success. You tell people to stop the politics of envy and to work harder. When it comes to CERTAIN kinds of people (i.e. teachers or others who have pensions) its totally OK to demand concessions, give backs and pay cuts because these people dont deserve these things. I say appy the same logic you do when talking about critics of the wealthy- stop whining, stop being envious and do something to improve your station in life if you feel others have things you dont. Government’s all over the country are scrambling because they have failed to live up to their obligations on pensions and now that we are near tipping point the governments (and anti teacher people) are now laying all blame at the people who are due the benefits. No mention of the people who negotiated the benefits, no mention of the faulty investments and poor projections that led to shortfalls and no mention of the skimping on payments over many years. Nope- forget all that- the only culprits are the greedy teachers who should lose pension benefits because others who chose not to teach dont have defined benefit pensions.

          • Hunter M.

            So whose fault is that? Corbett’s? No way….look at Rendell and his crony Tom Wolf.

          • Circa79

            This problem goes back DECADES. That is my point. If you think teachers are rich go get an education degree and become one.

          • Dan

            They already changed it! They raised their own pensions a decade ago! We pay for that! I’m not going to endulge the liberal classwarfare argument. I believe everyone should be rich. I don’t castigate rich people like Mitt Romney and turn around and vote for $100 million Wolf or $110 million can’t pay her mortgages Hillary Clinton.

          • Circa79

            You cannot arbitrarily reduce pension benefits that were negotiated and promised on a whim. That was my point. Just because people decide to get jealous and say “hey- those people dont deserve those pensions” the governor can’t simply ignore obligations that were promised. It doesnt work like that. I’m not talking about politicians increasing the generosity of their own pensions- that has nothing to do with what I said. What rich people did I castigate? None. I said stop being jealous and get your piece of the pie. YOu and others here are dripping with disdain and jealousy aimed towards those who you perceive are making out better than yourself as public employees. 99% of anti teacher and anti union rhetoric is grounded in jealousy and the perception that those people are getting things the whiners are not. Thats the whole point- dont pretend otherwise.

          • Hunter M.

            With a little less than half of Philly’s would be public school students in charter schools with high performance, and good standing. a quick term solution would be to slash the workforce of the underperforming philly public schools that have a 40% drop out rate. If there arent students, there isnt a need for all of these assistants and administrators. Theres a quick term solution but your liberal teachers unions would die before they let that happen.

          • Circa79

            Your ignorance is staggering- and thats saying something because I had the bar set pretty low for you already. You really know absolutely nothing about the issue at hand. The number of kids in expanding charter schools is part of the reason for the bugdet crunch. The district has already closed a few dozen underutilized schools and laid off thousands of workers. Even with that the REMAINING schools are lacking staff and resources. I understand you dont care about that because you dont give a damn about the type of kids affected. So let’s just leave it at that. Every single silver bullet that was supposed to improve education per idiotic right wing think tanks has been tried since the state takeover. Privatization, job cuts, new tougher contract, state control, increased charter school penetration, use of private for profit educational firms to run schools, closing of underperforming schools, zero tolerance polices and disciplinary schools- the list goes on and on. Bottom line is that people who call for all this crap dont believe in accountability (funny because you are supposed to be all about “personal responsibility”) when the results dont materialize. This district has been controlled by the state for 13 years and over that time most of the moves have been in line with conservative solutions for education. You see the results. Stop passing blame to teachers unions, minority kids and parents and everyone else. The panacea of right leaning solutions for education has not panned out in this city or any other. Period.

          • Hunter M.

            Charter schools produce results…Philly’s public schools do not. Why should Pennsylvania taxpayers pay for the pensions of underperforming teachers in a district where residents pay zero to no property tax.

        • liberal hater

          Liberals could care less as long as they get what they want for free!

  • Enuf already

    @circa79….I didn’t state nor infer that SEPTA paying the taxes they owed of $22M would fix the school problem, as that has been on going for some time and due to band aids only has gotten completely out of control. For this to have happened and millions not to be accounted for is completely unacceptable. Septa does legitimately owe the money in its role as a commercial landlord. For that to be forgiven in addition to the millions over 30 years is completely unacceptable. Is it because it was done by a Democrat that its okay? The government no matter party is out of control with voting themselves increases, pensions, perks, the fraud and theft in addition to the waste, overspending and mismanagement of OUR money. Were it theirs or their company’s believe me all would be cost effective, time efficient and accounted for to the penny. Were they doing the same with OURS, the taxpayers, we wouldn’t have these issues.
    And Corbett didn’t cut a cent, it was a stimulus package that would have been as with all else a temporary fix, a band aid quickly blown and they’d be asking for another million or two.

    • Circa79

      SEPTA never agreed that they owed the money, that was the issue. This has been ongoing battle in which SEPTA contends under state law there is no way they should be paying property taxes. Not sure what part of the store is being lost on you. The CITY said SEPTA owed the money but the law was ambiguous and SEPTA would not pay.

      The stimulus money was supposed to plug gaps during recession. Every state (including PA) knew that they would need increased revenues and a recovering economy to replace that money once it was exhausted. PA’s economy recovered slowly and once it was evident that the schools would face big deficits Corbett and Co said “dont look over here, blame ed rendell”. Corbett failed to replace the stimulus money sent funding levels back to where they were several years back which doesnt help when you have inflation and rising fixed costs.

      • Dan

        But he didn’t cut state funding for education. He didn’t replace federal funds. Can we agree the ads running statewide are lies?

        • Circa79

          what ads? I havent seen an ad about corbett in weeks, if not months. He is responsible for the funding levels. He knew coming into office that the gaps had to be filled post recession, he chose not to and to blame rendell for the layoffs and local tax increases that followed. You pay either way. Corbett wouldnt spend state money knowing it would lead to local tax increases- not his problem I suppose. As long as he could maintain he never raised a tax he could care less.

          • Dan

            Every democrat for Governor and Phillymag has claimed he cut $1 billion in education when he had no control over expired funds.

          • Circa79

            he had control, he chose gas industry over schools and watched thousands get laid off. This is the same guy running ads about how he has revved up PA’s economy and personally led to the addition of tens of thousands of jobs. The feds gave states a TEMPORARY reprieve with stimulus money. Once that ran out those obligations were once again the state’s alone. corbett came in and then wanted funding to go back to pre-recession levels in spite of the fact that costs and needs had increased. when you hold funding levels flat and costs increase its the same as a cut, the buying power is reduced which means districts had to make cuts to survive.

          • Dan

            You are still talking about temporary funds and ways he could’ve replaced them. He didn’t replace them it isn’t a cut. Those drillers employ thousands of Pennsylvanians thank you very much.

  • brinsley

    Yet another article in a Philadelphia publication which frames the issue as a choice between privatizing state stores and pension “reform” or funding schools. Which is exactly how the Governor and the Republicans want it. No mention of Medicaid expansion or taxing Marcellus shale or any other measure which might mean less money for Corbett’s contributors. The article reaffirms the demand that Crobett/Green have made: government workers must become a funding source for schools, and those who represent them should sell them down the river.

    • Dan

      That’s not the issue. Issue is Corbett offered a compromise fix the pension and he’ll give more money to the schools. I guess the Philadelphia democratic delegation would rather see the state go bankrupt then compromise with Corbett. Corbett signed a $630 million impact fee on the drillers so they pay plenty.

      • Circa79

        First of all the only thing being offered was the right to implement a Philly only tax. Corbett wasn’t giving up ANYTHING and he cant even control or influence the GOP house members who are firmly against the cigarette tax because they hate taxes and Philadelphia. IN what world is authorization for a local tax that has no bearing on the rest of the state known as “giving something up”. Corbett wasn’t giving anything up.

        • Dan

          He’s giving them what they want now they should give him what he wants.

    • Joe Kennedy

      Yes, the corporate dictatorship drones emphasize how bad unions are for the working class !!! What nonsense they spew. If we’re not careful, our democracy will be gone especially in poor, urban areas all under the guise of “reform.” The Ruling Class has ALWAYS tried to short sheet everybody else so none of this is new. UNIONS act as a buffer from the dictator types. Google “Life in the USA before unions.” Sit down before doing so or you’ll fall down. PLEASE don’t be so dumb to think it couldn’t happen again.

  • JJ

    since the SRC took over in Philly the operation in the red has gone from 90 million to 400 million, when the SRC spends money like a drunkin sailor. And the state has not put their sahare of funds into the pension for years Corbitt wants the teachers to take a cut so that they can fix the problem caused by the 3 Governors before him, accountability is always on the teachers, where is the accountability for the state and the SRC.

  • JJ

    Hey hater, the union gave the school district 105 million dollars from their health and welfare fund 2 years ago but nobody hears about that contribution the members made, your welcomed, and your listening to the BS about 33 cents going to the students thats wrong.

  • Dan Ryan

    What do you have to say about this now? The governor has pushed the cigarette tax and pension reform and the Dems have given him zero votes for either. Leadership on both sides of the legislature have failed the Philadelphia school system and the kids. The only one fighting for them is the Governor and yet he’s getting no credit.

    Corbett for Governor 2014