Tries to dispel two myths, set Corbett record straight

To the editor:

I am responding to the open letter Mr. Faust wrote to Senator Robert Casey. As a first time, 18-year-old voter who will be voting in November this year, I will be voting for Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election. Now, this may or may not come as a surprise to some people, but as a first-time voter in the key demographic of voters aged between 18-25, I would like to get the facts about each candidate before I cast my first ballot. Therefore, there are two popular myths out there about Gov. Corbett that I want to dispel and set the record straight.

Myth: Gov. Corbett cut education spending by $1 billion. Fact: The $1 billion boost in education funding that the state received in 2009 came from the Obama stimulus. This stimulus wasn’t intended to last forever, but the school districts crafted their budgets as if the stimulus would always be there. When the stimulus ran out in 2011, education funding levels returned to pre-stimulus levels, giving the illusion that Gov. Corbett cut education funding. What may come as a surprise to many who still believe in this myth is that the Corbett administration has invested more in education today than ever before. In fact, the governor’s budget invests $12 billion in early, basic and post-secondary education, including $10.1 billion for public schools. That’s an increase of more than $1.2 billion since the day Corbett took office. The best part? His budget includes no tax increases. How is this possible? I will explain that toward the end of my letter.

Myth: Gov. Corbett’s budget “cuts” to education have cost 20,000 educators their jobs. Fact: Gov. Corbett asked state teachers to take a one-year pay freeze, In response, the teachers unions basically screamed “bloody murder” and claimed that this was the greatest insult to teachers in the history of our state. Instead of taking the pay freeze and thereby saving an excess of $700 million, they chose to quit their jobs-they were never fired. And for the record (I emphasize this to all those who belong to a teachers union), there is difference between being fired and quitting your job. To all the readers who are teachers and think that the teachers who quit were being noble, I invite them to ask the people in the private sector in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when the last time was they got a raise, because the average teacher contracts during the late 2008/early 2009 financial crisis had five-percent annual increases. This was during a time when we were at 9 percent unemployment. Maybe that was a promise Gov. Rendell made, but that promise was unaffordable then and still is now. So who’s really to blame for the 20,000 teachers who packed up their boxes and lost their jobs? Not Gov. Corbett. The teachers unions made the decision to stand by their current contracts and make no compromise whatsoever, despite the fact that we were in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and thus allowed their own members to be laid off.

I believe Gov. Corbett deserves another four years because of his record: He helped the private sector create new jobs to put more than 141,000 people back to work (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics), saved $25.6 million by cutting the state auto fleet by 16 percent (1,600 cars) as he promised, and cut state spending for the first time in 40 years. The result? He was able to close a $4.2 billion budget deficit without raising taxes (as stated in the second paragraph of this letter). In addition, he protected and expanded Second Amendment rights, ended the death tax on family farms, protected the sanctity of life by signing a bill that prohibits state funding of abortions through Obamacare as he continues to fight for Obamacare’s repeal, and was one of only four governors in the country to receive CATO’s “A” rating for restoring Pennsylvania’s fiscal health.

Unlike Rendell, Casey, Wolf, Schwartz, or McCord, Gov. Corbett understands that good government focuses on how we invest our funds, not how we spend them. He wants to build on Pennsylvania’s successes for the next four years to make us strong, whereas President Obama and the Democrats in Washington want to continue to lead our country toward a path of less jobs, higher debt and a broken health care system. Why should Pennsylvania go down the same path President Obama is taking the rest of our country? I say enough is enough with Washington. I stand with Gov. Corbett. Do you?

Jonathan Hayes