The Pennsylvania State Budget…Digging a Deeper Deficit Hole!
One of the continuing sagas and fiascos in Harrisburg is the drawing up and approval of the state’s budget. This year the governor and the state legislature – after months of wrangling and playing footsie – finally enacted a $28 billion budget for the upcoming year. To repeat - $28 billion!
In the previous seven years Governor Rendell and the legislature failed to produce a budget on time, highlighted by last year’s debacle that went 101 days past the deadline. To make the upcoming budget a possibility, the governor had to raise the state’s debt limit. To give perspective to this issue, it should be noted that the state faces a $1.2 billion deficit.
As always, the budget is stuffed with pork and personal pet projects of both the state legislators and the governor. Of course, it is mandatory that the state budget be approved for it to carry out its necessary responsibilities, but we can see that both the governor and the state legislators abuse the privilege.
It’s apparent that it has long been the philosophy of both the governor and the state legislators that, when in doubt…or in this case…when in debt, raise taxes. The power brokers in Harrisburg never make operating cuts – they, instead, prefer to raise taxes. Spending reforms continue to be foreign to the powers that be in the state capital. To this end, it’s worth noting that state spending has jumped 40 percent in the past seven years!
Both candidates for governor in the next election – Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and Attorney General Tom Corbett – have been critical of the way the whole budget situation has been handled. Tom Corbett calls it “a classic example of what’s wrong in Harrisburg.” Both Onorato and Corbett have promised a sweeping reform of how the state is run if elected.
State House Minority Whip Mike Turzai put it best when he said, “The system is totally abused…it’s a way to spend money now without facing the fiscal responsibility and passing it on to future generations.”
There is good reason to accept the fact that being a taxpayer in Pennsylvania is one of the frustrating chores with which we suffer…now…and from here to eternity!
Robert W. Dickey
Broadcast: July 9, 10,11, 12, 2010
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