State Senator Lisa Baker voted to support the state budget to take effect July 1, and offered this reasoning for her vote:
In a bad economy and a bad year for state revenue, our difficult challenge is to protect taxpayers and to preserve the programs on which so many of our citizens depend. This budget strikes about as fair a balance as can be achieved in unfavorable financial circumstances.
Many people who contacted me in recent months wanted two things first and foremost – that we get a realistic budget done by the deadline, and that we avoid tax increases. They did not see any advantages gained during last year’s protracted deadlock. They clearly saw the disruption to services and lives that resulted.
This budget contains actual spending control, forced by the substantial budget deficit and widespread opposition to tax increases. Many programs and institutions are no longer receiving state funding. Others are going to have to find ways to extend services with fewer dollars to work with. Almost $1 billion was sliced from what the Governor recommended in February, including substantial reductions for welfare. There are other areas, most notably corrections, where the laws have to be changed in order to achieve similar cost control.
If this budget had failed to gain approval, there were only two directions to go – more spending and higher taxes, which would place another unfortunate burden on families and job providers, or deeper cuts in spending, which would inflict hardships on many Pennsylvanians who depend on state services.
Contact: Maggie Giannelli