Budget Statement by Senator Lisa Baker

“This probably was the most challenging state budget in Pennsylvania history, given the tough economic situation and the record drop in state revenues. It was complicated by Governor Rendell’s determination to raise taxes to boost spending, particularly on education programs.

Legislators heard something very different in their districts – most people opposed tax increases of any kind, and wanted the budget balanced through spending cuts and program elimination.

In terms of bringing spending in at a lower level than last year, and avoiding increases in the state personal income tax and the sales tax, this budget is better than those negotiated during previous budget crises.

Nevertheless, I cannot support the tax increases or the expansion of gambling that are part of paying for the budget. Consistent with that position, I cannot support the spending level contained in the budget itself.

Within the budget, I believe that Governor Rendell insisted on too much money for education, to the detriment of the many other areas of state responsibility, such as human services, which sustained even greater reductions as a result.

While it is a relief that a final budget is within reach, the amount of time it took to reach this point is inexcusable. Service providers, schools, students, and families should not have had to suffer the uncertainty, the disruptions, and the costs inflicted because of the prolonged dispute.”

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931

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