For the first time in eight years, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has passed a
budget, which was on time and, in total, began to put the breaks on spending.
It is no secret that liberal critics have condemned the budget as an attack on the poor, underprivileged, and seniors, and that not a single Democrat in the state legislature support any efforts to reduce spending and control taxes. And while some Republicans had to be convinced that cutting costs and rejecting any tax increases was a good thing, in the end a good first step was taken to bring the free-spending of the past eight years to an end, and for several reasons.
First, the budget just signed by Governor Corbett keeps the state budget for
2011/2012 within Corbett’s goal of $27.3 billion, reducing state spending by 3
percent. Granted, 3 percent does not sound like a lot of money but in light of the fact that spending under the direction of the previous administration ballooned by more than 40%, any reduction is critical. In fact, while liberals cry over less spending cash, they forget that during the last eight years Pennsylvania incurred an additional $9 billion in debt. How can any reasonable person expect to pay off this Commonwealth’s bills without cutting expenses?
Second, there are no new taxes in the new budget, which is always good news from
Harrisburg. Remember the days when unscrupulous Republicans and Democrats would get behind closed doors with the former Governor and negotiate the annual budget based upon which taxes would be increased? The taxpayers of Pennsylvania can breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that for the first time in almost a decade that their wallets weren’t targeted in an effort to clean up for the irresponsible spending habits of the politicians and bureaucrats.
Third, and most importantly, the 2011/2012 budget has forced the Pennsylvania
legislature to do something it has not done in a long time under either Republican or Democrat leadership: actually think in terms of balancing a budget. After all, how many in the General Assembly and in the State Senate had to be convinced that they could not spend more money than was brought into the revenue coffers? The past eight years has shown that too many in Harrisburg see the taxpayers as just another source of money, not as their constituents and not as their employers. That kind of thinking is what has gotten not just Pennsylvania but the entire United States into the fiscal chaos they are currently trying to scramble out of.
In order to change the behavior of the politicians, it requires a change in
thinking, and the new budget for Pennsylvania demonstrates that, at least at one
level of government, the notion of balancing the budget, reducing spending and
controlling taxes has begun to take root. Whether it will flourish and bloom is
another matter entirely, and that is where the voters and taxpayers must make their voices heard and hold Harrisburg accountable should their elected officials fall of the fiscal-reform wagon.