Smith Says State Budget Not in Line with Economic Times

Member Group : News Releases

Representative Sam Smith
Republican Leader
PA House of Representatives
Date: October 9, 2009 Contact: Stephen Miskin (717) 787-3845

(HARRISBURG) – Saying that the state budget spends more than we have, increases taxes and does not position the state well for the future, House Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) issued the following statement relative to the final spending plan.

"From day one of this budget season, House Republicans fought for the residents, employers and taxpayers of Pennsylvania," Smith said. "In the face of a multi-billion dollar deficit, we fought to control spending. People and employers just don’t have the extra money to pay for more or expanded government services.

"Businesses across Pennsylvania are closing or downsizing, people are being affected. Taxes are not the answer for these folks as they are already paying more for food, insurance, energy and almost everything else.

"With more than a billion dollars in new or increased taxes, billions in federal stimulus dollars, and now, by draining the Rainy Day Fund and the Health Care Provider Retention Account and raiding the Tobacco Endowment Fund, we are positioned on a giant funding cliff if the economy doesn’t swing back strongly in a year.

"House Republicans had a better, smarter plan. We had a budget which would have avoided the funding cliff because it controlled spending, wisely used recurring revenues, and did not need to tax hard-working Pennsylvanians or their employers.

"Once the other caucuses made the decision to agree with Gov. Rendell about increased spending and more taxes, House Republicans were excluded from the budget negotiations. The fact is, I was at EVERY meeting I was invited to. We wanted to participate, we wanted to advocate our position, but our proposal was ignored by the House Democrat majority and the Senate.

"It was made very clear to me, the only way to participate was to agree to their spending number and their taxes. The price of admission was unaffordable.

"The issues were taxes and spending. This budget ensures taxes are coming as long as the Senate, House Democrats and governor continue to fund welfare without regard to proven waste, fraud and abuse.

"House Republicans believe a compromise budget could have been passed overwhelmingly by the General Assembly in June. However, others wanted people to suffer and wanted to create a crisis, leading to real suffering and hardship.

"The governor himself said he wanted the pressure from those not receiving services, he wanted the pressure from families whose college-bound kids weren’t able to get their PHEAA grants, and he wanted the pressure of child care services shutting down. The governor wanted billions more in spending and huge tax increases and he thought that crisis would deliver it.

"House Republicans stood firm and said ‘NO.’ By standing together, House Republicans were able to impact the final state budget. We helped kill the income tax and the expansion of the sales tax. We fought the small games of chance tax which would have affected our volunteer fire departments, fraternal organizations, and veteran clubs. We helped stop the energy tax and the tax on concerts and museums.

"Clearly I believe there was a better approach to this budget and I think our proposal proves that to be true. That aside, I am proud of the fact we were able to offer our taxpayers a bit more protection than they would have been given had these other taxes and bloated spending plans been enacted."

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