Paul Drucker weighs in on state priorities

Paul Drucker, Candidate for the 157th, weighed in on prioritizing a voter ID bill over job creation in a letter to Main Line Suburban Life on Friday, March 23, 2012.

What happened to “Jobs, jobs, jobs?”

By Paul Drucker

Pennsylvania has many challenges to overcome, but voter fraud is not one of them. The education-funding crisis, crumbling roads and bridges and, of course, job creation are the challenges voters want and need Harrisburg to address. Instead Governor Corbett and the Republican legislature have chosen to spend millions in taxpayer dollars to fix the fictional problem of voter fraud. This is simply unfair to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.

Neither Governor Corbett nor any member of the Republican leadership has been able to produce evidence of any voter fraud in Pennsylvania. The lack of evidence did not prevent them from pushing and passing House Bill 934, the Voter ID Bill, a bill that comes with an $11-million price tag at a time when we cannot afford to pay for education or safe roads.

Pennsylvania is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. Governor Corbett and the Republicans claim that there is no money to adequately fund our public-school system. They are unwilling to invest in rebuilding our crumbling roadway and bridge infrastructure, which would also serve to create thousands of jobs. Lack of funding to these essential functions of the state government is costing us jobs as well as jeopardizing our future and our safety. Republicans claim that their cuts-only approach to balancing the budget is putting Pennsylvania on the right fiscal path. After just one year of Republican control of state government, Pennsylvania dropped from fourth to 47th in the nation for job creation, and while the U.S. gained 200,000 jobs in January, Pennsylvania lost 9,000. It is unfair to all Pennsylvanians that Republicans would focus on a costly Voter ID Bill when we need them to address the real problems we face. Republicans gave us a Voter ID Bill, but we need a Jobs Bill.

The Voter ID Bill does nothing to address the issues that are the priorities of taxpayers. It does unfairly burden and disenfranchise the poor, minorities and the elderly of one of their fundamental rights, the right to vote. It does perpetrate this unconstitutional attack on our basic rights at great cost to the taxpayers. It does expose the public commitment to fiscal responsibility, which Republicans so proudly publicize, as nothing but a fraud.

There is a reason that the AARP, NAACP and the PA Association of County Commissioners, among other groups, have vehemently opposed this law. It is just bad policy. It infringes upon our rights and imposes unnecessary costs in order to further narrow political interests. It is an unfair betrayal of the trust voters place in our elected officials, and it is bad policy for voters and taxpayers at a time when the Commonwealth can least afford it.

Paul Drucker is a candidate for state representative in the 157th Legislative District.

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