A Pennsylvania Republican proposed drastic budget cuts described by a newspaper columnist as “a medieval crusade against the arts, culture and learning.”
State Rep. Brad Roae, who represents Crawford County, proposed a flat funding formula for public schools and ending some educational programs and grants to students who pursue majors in the arts, reported The Inquirer.
“Everything needs to be flat funded or cut,” Roae said. “People elected us to cut spending, not raise taxes.”
The Meadville Republican called for an end to arts grants and the state meteorologist position, and he proposed eliminating education grants for students who choose to study “poetry or some other Pre Walmart major.”
Inquirer columnist Will Bunch praised one of Roae’s proposed cuts — which would require state lawmakers to file expense reports instead of drawing “per diem” payments for travel and housing — but blasted the rest as an offense against civilization.
“I might be in the minority on this, but while we certainly do need to train the next generation of scientists and mathematicians, a society that only trains scientists and mathematicians is no longer a civilization,” Bunch wrote. “And there are a lot of engineers who’d agree that a world without poets isn’t much of a world.”
Roae didn’t stop with education, however.
The lawmaker, who serves on the Finance and Human Services Committees, proposed closing state-owned residential facilities for those with intellectual disabilities, rolling back the Medicaid expansion that covers hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians, selling State Stores and repealing the state’s prevailing wage policies.
Roae said lawmakers should focus on making required debt pension payments, flat funding education and consider cutting most everything else from the state budget.
“Keep going down line items, fund the most important things and when we run out of money we stop,” Roae said.