Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lawmaker blames deficit on Rendell overspending

State Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester County, has an op-ed column in The West Chester Daily Local News on Pennsylvania's growing budget deficit, which has passed the $550 million mark in the first four months of the current fiscal year.

Schroder, who voted against Rendell's $28.3 billion budget, says the red ink is not caused by "the global economic meltdown" as Rendell claims, but by a pattern of overspending on the part of the Democratic governor.

From Schroder's column:
Pennsylvania's budget deficit, which analysts predict could reach as high as $2.5 billion by the end of the current fiscal year, was not created solely by the economic downturn as some would have you believe. Instead, it is the result of years of overspending in Harrisburg.

Gov. Ed Rendell's budgets have routinely increased spending beyond the rate of inflation. Now, to quote one controversial clergyman, "The chickens are coming home to roost!"

From 2002 to the current 2008-09 budget, spending increased by 38.6 percent while the rate of inflation only rose by 19.5 percent.
Schroder says the token cuts Rendell has offered to make so far are not enough. The entire budget must be reopened or the state will face a huge financial crisis in 2009.

From his column:
This entire budget, and the house of cards on which it is based, must be reopened. It needs to be re-examined from top to bottom by the General Assembly - the elected body of the taxpaying citizens of Pennsylvania.

There is no shortage of ideas worth exploring. We should use this opportunity to force some tough decisions and finally come to grips with unnecessary spending on programs that either don't work or only serve a narrow special interest. If we do not act now, Pennsylvania will face its own fiscal crisis of Wall Street proportions.
Read the full column, "Blames deficit on overspending," at the newspaper's Web site.

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