I announce today my candidacy for Governor of Pennsylvania and will be doing press conferences in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Tomorrow, I will be in Pittsburgh for a press conference there.
Pennsylvania is an energy powerhouse and soon will produce the third most energy among the states. Pennsylvania will trail only Texas and Wyoming--two states with no state income tax--in total energy production.
Despite the Marcellus gas boom and falling national unemployment, Pennsylvania's economy is struggling. For the first time in years, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was higher than the national unemployment rate in both September and October. Pennsylvania's rate of job creation that was among the highest in the nation in 2010 has fallen to among the lowest.
Our struggles are rooted in a mismanagement of Pennsylvania's tremendous energy resources, failed economic development policies that rely almost exclusively on the natural gas industry, and disastrous education policies. Pennsylvania's schools since 2011 have lost 19,000 jobs, and school taxes have increased in many communities, after a $1 billion cut in state funding in the 2011-2012 budget.
Those budget cuts to public schools, universities, and colleges were choices made and not unavoidable. For example, the 2011-12 state budget included hundreds of millions of dollars for the Rainy Day Fund, hundreds of millions of dollars for corporate tax cuts, and about $250 million to 14 cyber charter schools, even though 13 have reading and math scores below the average of a traditional public school.
Not surprisingly, with fewer teachers, higher class sizes, lost tutoring programs and courses, Pennsylvania's school test scores declined. Those Pennsylvanians who are also paying higher school taxes, as a result of the 2011-12 budget cuts, are paying more for education and getting less value.
In the coming campaign, I look forward to listening to Pennsylvanians and proposing solutions to our problems. I also invite you to visit www.hangerforgovernor.com and to support my campaign.