HARRISBURG – In response to the Governor’s budget address, Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-199) and Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30) presented a conservative budget briefing at the Capitol Wednesday. The purpose of the briefing was to sound the alarm on areas of unsustainable growth in state spending and outline specific measures and principles to improve the Commonwealth’s economic outlook.
"Senator Eichelberger and I decided it was important to look at the big
picture and study how we got to this point, and then indentify critical issues that must be addressed in order to keep Pennsylvania on the road to economic
recovery," Bloom explained.
The long-term fiscal emergency facing Pennsylvania, which Bloom and Eichelberger
termed the "four-alarm fiscal fire," is driven by four main problem
areas, or "alarms" in the state budget: a bloated public pension
system, rapidly increasing public welfare dependency, ballooning state debt
obligations, and persistently high corrections costs.
"Pennsylvania’s fiscal house is on fire. Despite positive efforts to cut
spending with last year’s state budget, we’re still spending too
much," said Bloom. "This year, the governor threw more water on that
fire, and I commend him for that, but there is still much more water needed to put the fire out."
Bloom and Eichelberger noted that the 2011-12 state budget projected spending $578 million more than estimated revenue collections. Total revenue collections through January 2012 were still lagging $497 million behind forecasts, creating a looming budget deficit of more than $1 billion.
"If we don’t reform spending now, we’ll be on track to repeat the
same mistakes in 2012-13,” said Bloom. “The fire is getting hotter, and if we keep planning to spend more than we take in, it only adds more fuel to the fire."
"Growth in these four major spending areas is projected to far outpace the
growth that is projected in revenues. An austere budget is an important step, but if we don’t take action now to enact significant reforms in these areas, the
future financial picture for Pennsylvania’s government will remain
bleak," said Eichelberger.
The lawmakers also cited several principles they believe are necessary to
“fireproof the economy.” These principles included limiting government spending to the cost of providing core government services, prioritizing every dollar spent, funding programs that produce results, and eliminating any unnecessary spending and taxes.
"We need to look with intense scrutiny at the ever-increasing pension and debt
obligations, the welfare waste and abuse, and our high corrections costs, and we
need to push for reform in these areas that are consuming massive portions of the taxpayer’s dollar,” said Bloom.
To watch video of Bloom and Eichelberger’s budget briefing, visit
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