Protesters Unite Monday in Anticipation of Corbett's Budget

A group of public union members and people from the community gathered Monday to protest cuts they assume Gov. Corbett will announce Tuesday as part of his budget.

Jim Baker, a member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 668, said he was protesting Monday afternoon in front of PA Sen. Pat Browne's downtown Allentown office because families are already stretched to the limit after two years under Gov. Tom Corbett's policies and he doesn't believe it will get any better.

He was joined by fellow union members, members of the community and members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776.

Protestors braved frigid temperatures and held signs saying, "Fund Our Schools" and "Honk if you Support PA Families."

On a press release, Baker said, "The state budget cuts have left families teetering on the edge. Assistance in our state continues to be misplaced, as rich corporations continue to receive handouts and tax breaks, while working families are dealing with cuts to their schools, busy signals for unemployment claim phone calls and the disappearance of vital social services their family and community rely on."

Baker and the other protestors also oppose what they call the "Delaware loophole." His press release says: The "Delaware loophole" allows Pennsylvania companies to avoid paying state taxes by incorporating in the neighboring state."

In addition to fiscal concerns, John Werkheiser, UFCW Local 1776, said he was there to protest Corbett's recent proposal to privatize the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Although Corbett has promised to use profits to benefit education grants, Werkheiser said he believes it is short sighted.

"If you kill the cow you no longer get the daily milk," Werkheiser said. "Why is he doing it other than to pay off political contributors?"

Baker's press release said Allentown's protesters were joined by frustrated taxpayers in Pittsburgh and Altoona.

Baker said they picked the corner of Hamilton and 7th streets in front of Sen. Browne's office because it was the closest state office building and because Browne has "a lot of say about the final state budget." Ellen Kern who works in Sen. Browne's office said he was in meetings all day in Harrisburg and unable to comment on the protest.


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