Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said Gov. Tom Corbett should have vetoed the entire 2014-15 budget because it is unsustainable and fails to improve schools. He issued the following statements:
On veto of entire budget:
“As the state’s chief fiscal watchdog I can appreciate the governor’s careful review of the budget before taking action, but he should have vetoed the entire spending plan because it is based on overly optimistic revenue projections and one-time funding sources.
“I am concerned that this budget is not sustainable and that threatens to create an enormous budget deficit that will become evident in six to nine months.
“What Pennsylvania needs is a bi-partisan, fiscally stable budget that doesn’t rely on one-time fixes.
“I guarantee that by the mid-year budget review, everyone will regret this budget becoming law.
“I will continue to keep a close watch on the state budget and spending as the year progresses.”
On education funding:
“The new state budget does not address the basic education and charter school funding issues that our audits routinely show are affecting school districts across the state. We need real reforms in public and charter school funding so schools can prepare students for the future.
“Our audits frequently illustrate the financial pressures on local school districts because of the 2011 elimination of more than $224 million in charter school reimbursements, other state funding cuts and growing pension contributions. Our students and taxpayers will end up paying the biggest price as the majority of school districts across the state expect to eliminate more academic programs and raise property taxes in 2014-15.
“Claiming the 2014-15 budget spends more on schools than ever before is like saying a family is spending more on groceries than ever before. It may be true because costs are going up, but it doesn’t mean the family is eating more or better.”