Baker Urges Fiscal Restraint in Upcoming State Budget

With concerns looming about a downturn in the national economy, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) said she will push for restrained spending and borrowing and no new taxes in this year’s state budget.

“In uncertain economic times, I do not think we should be spending more money on expensive new programs,” Baker said. “Instead, we should practice the same fiscal restraint that families do when budgets are tight.”

Governor Ed Rendell today proposed a 2008-09 state budget calling for a $1.1 billion in the general budget and $900 million in new money for initiatives under his “Protect Our Progress” package. To pay for his programs, he is proposing to tap the Rainy Day and Motor Vehicle funds, impose a new tax on flood insurance premiums, and redirect money from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.

“This proposal includes significant new borrowing for large new programs – all of which must be paid for by taxpayers,” Baker said. “I believe we have an obligation to taxpayers to practice fiscal restraint and save money we might need in the event of a downturn.”

Baker said she does support the governor’s plan to boost funding for economic stimulus programs that the Legislature approved several years ago.

“Investing in job creators is an investment in workers and our economy,” Baker said. “Because of these successful and effective programs, Pennsylvania is in far better shape economically than many of our neighbors, so it makes sense to build on that progress.”

Baker said the Senate and House Appropriations Committees will be carefully examining the proposed budget during two weeks of public hearings in Harrisburg beginning February 25. A final state budget must be adopted by the constitutional deadline of June 30th.

Contact: Brian Grove
bgrove@pasen.gov
(570) 675-3931