Thursday, March 20, 2008

Memo to Harrisburg: We want our money back!

The Pennsylvania Legislature made a big deal this week about the news that the cost of operating the most expensive state legislature in the country dropped by $1 million.

The annual cost of running the 253-member Legislature came to $308 million last year, or $1.2 million per lawmaker.

The Legislature also revealed that the "surplus" lawmakers skim from annual state budgets has reached $241.5 million as of June 2007, an increase of $25 million from the previous year, according the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission.

Legislative leaders say they need to keep their private slush fund in case the mean governor cuts their annual budget allocation. Seriously, when was the last time Ed Rendell proposed spending less for anything?

A tiny little problem with this logic. It's our money!!! Either spend it on worthwhile projects or give it back to the taxpayers.

There's no such thing as a government surplus. When government ends up with more money that it spends, it means taxes are too high.

Government is not in the business of making a profit or stashing money away for a rainy day. It's pouring on the people of Pennsylvania, who can't afford buy food for their families or put gas in their car to get to work.

After the state pays its bills, the money should return to its rightful owners - the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review agrees. In an editorial, the newspapers demands that lawmakers return the money.
"Principled representatives should not legitimize the slush fund by debating how some of the money could be used for subsidizing high property taxes and other sops for put-upon Pennsylvanians," the newspaper says. "Give the money back to taxpayers. Right now."

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