Corman Addresses Rotary Club of Downtown State College
Stating that Pennsylvania government should adopt the Rotary International motto, State Senator Jake Corman believes it is time for Harrisburg to put “service ahead of ourselves.”
The State Senator from the 34th District addressed the Rotary Club of Downtown State College on Aug. 2.
He provided some insights about the way the Commonwealth’s legislature is going to move forward and offered a vision for real problem solving.
“I became the Appropriations Chairman four years ago,” he said. “With the recession it was like being named the Captain of the Titanic.”
The Senator noted that in real terms, Pennsylvania’s current state budget is half a billion dollars less than it was four years ago.
“Because of the recession, income and sales tax revenues have taken the biggest hit. And those are the taxes that run state government.”
That’s why the legislature felt the right thing to do was prioritize. “But we still want to show that Pennsylvania is the place to be,” Corman said. “Creating jobs is the best way to raise revenues. We are in competition not only with other states, but with the whole world.”
While the economy is still struggling, Corman says it is important for Pennsylvania to keep operating costs to a minimum.
“Like businesses, we have to invest in ourselves,” he said. He suggested the following as strategic investments: transportation infrastructure and higher education.
“We are allowing our transportation infrastructure to crumble around us,” said Corman. “The costs of maintaining a system that is larger than most states is growing faster than we can keep up. It is our responsibility to fix this problem. We need to raise the revenue to address this.” He suggested that an increase on the gas tax, at the wholesale level might be the answer.
Citing the fact that his district saw the completion of several important road projects — including Interstate 99, Blue Course Drive, and the Lewistown Narrows — Corman said that the district got a good return on its investments. “We have needs. We are not governing and doing our jobs if we allow the infrastructure to crumble.”
Building roads will put people to work in the short term and deal with a problem that is not going to get any cheaper to fix in the long term.
Corman believes that there is an important place for higher education in the state. “We need to provide access to higher education. Access is so important. We have great private institutions in Pennsylvania. But Penn State University is a system worth fighting for. “Pennsylvania benefits significantly from money spent supporting Penn State.”
The Senator was asked about keeping costs of higher education low. He responded that Penn State’s in-state tuition is fairly priced, compared with other institutions.