Pennsylvania voters are more open to footing a larger bill for public education than Harrisburg seems to believe, a poll commissioned by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the Public Citizens for Children and Youth suggests.
The poll, which surveyed 604 potential 2014 general election voters indicates that a majority — 55 percent — would support small tax increases accompanied by a delay in corporate tax reductions to fund the schools. What is more, 54 percent are in favor of increasing the income tax to fund public education, without requiring additional contributions from corporations. Only a third of participants said they would favor neither option.
Pennsylvania voters are willing to make sacrifices for public education, because they now view it as a top priority. Seventy-seven percent of voters are concerned about public education funding in Pennsylvania, an issue that was ranked the top budget priority for the Corbett administration and the Harrisburg legislature, higher even than the economy.
Meanwhile, Gov. Corbett says he has “committed” to supporting the Philadelphia School District, but expressed no concrete funding proposals, besides promising to seek concessions from labor unions. City Paper reported last week that a secret poll funded by the education reform organization PennCAN encouraged him to attack the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to improve his re-election prospects.
Corbett might want to revise his political strategy. As the Philadelphia School District faces a $304 million deficit, 3,859 layoffs and cuts to all extracurricular activities, Pennsylvania voters are more concerned than ever by the direction public schools are taking.
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