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Pennsylvania state budget disappoints again
Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania calls budget "failure" and "fantasy"
Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109
For Immediate Release: July 9, 2010
Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at Media-Relations@lppa.org or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS / email@example.com
Harrisburg, PA - The state legislature keeps finding new ways to disappoint Pennsylvanians at budget time. While our last budget was unconscionably late, this one is a mix of failure and fantasy.
This budget fails to cut spending at a time when our fiscal position is precarious. General fund spending increased from $27.8 to over $28 billion while the state’s total operating budget jumps from $65.9 to $66.4 billion. The budget ignores the past two years of revenue collection decreases that led to a general fund $1.2 billion gap last year and a $3 billion gap the year before.
The budget fails to cut pork and reintroduces "Walking Around Money" (WAM) reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to be between $65 and $100 million. In addition, it provides millions for the construction of the John P. Murtha Center for Public Policy and the Arlen Specter Library Project Center. It irresponsibly ignores both the coming public pension crisis that will require a $5 billion increase in annual payments in 2010 and the coming loss of federal stimulus funds in 2011-2012 fiscal year.
In June, The Commonwealth Foundation released “A Taxpayer's Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania” which identified opportunities to cut over $4 billion in wasteful state spending in Gov. Rendell's proposed FY 2010-2011 budget. Their report also offered a series of recommendations for resolving the current revenue shortfall and reducing the size and burden of government on Pennsylvanians. The budget failed to take advantage of these opportunities.
Instead, our state legislature fantasizes in their budget calculations that Pennsylvania will see a 3.2 percent increase in revenue collections at a time when unemployment is growing and business is receeding. An even greater fantasy is that the budget calculation assumes $850 million in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funds that have yet to pass Congress. According to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, "No one, including the governor, thinks we'll receive $850 million."
Commented Brian Bergman, State House Candidate in the 119th district, “Yet again, Pennsylvania's government has failed to pass either a balanced budget or an on-time budget. Where are the incentives to do either? There is nothing currently in the PA Constitution or statutes that puts any penalty on the representatives in Harrisburg if they fail in their duties. It's time to hold them accountable - vote them all out and elect new people that will truly work FOR the citizens of Pennsylvania and will enact consequences when the Legislature fails so completely in their duties.”
Mark Crowley, LPPa Media Relations, summarized “It's no surprise that this budget was created behind closed doors. They suspended the rule requiring a public comment period. The disappointing result certainly shows this lack of transparency.”
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Pennsylvania and the United States. More than 200,000 people across the country are registered Libertarians, and Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information.