It is disappointing and frustrating that the budget deadline is sliding by without a new state budget in place. But the key principle at the heart of the budget deadlock is an important one.
I am opposed to increasing state taxes. This is not about political philosophy; rather, it is very much about practical concern for taxpayers. The economic damage that tax hikes would inflict has been clearly documented.
The many Pennsylvania families hard hit by the faltering economy cannot afford to be hammered further by a large state tax increase. Most people feel strongly that spending cuts are the way to go to produce a balanced budget and deal with the nearly $3.3 billion deficit. Families, businesses, and community institutions have all been forced to cut back on spending as a result of the recession. In their view and mine, state government should do the same.
If state spending is not slowed down, if costly new programs are constantly added, as has been the experience under Governor Rendell, Pennsylvania will bounce from one budget crisis to another. That would be a poor way to govern, and would stall economic recovery.
State revenue is projected to be flat in the coming year, so help for the budget is not just around the corner. That circumstance is what makes this budget problem more difficult to solve than those in the past, and what makes spending control so necessary.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson