Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rep. Reichley: Rendell budget passed by House Dems is a 'sham'

Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Berks/Lehigh), vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after Tuesday's passage of House Bill 2279, Gov. Rendell's latest $29 billion red-ink budget proposal:
"It is no coincidence that the budget bill that passed today was voted on exactly 100 days before the June 30 deadline. Unfortunately, the governor and his allies would prefer to pass a bill that does not bear any reality to the financial difficulties faced by many families, businesses and organizations rather than to pass a fiscally responsible spending plan for Pennsylvania. The governor's proposal, passed with unanimous support from House Democrats, spends far more than the state is taking in, exceeding tax revenue by billions of dollars, and relying on deferred payments into state employee and teacher pension funds. Such reckless spending only compounds the problem we are currently facing.

"The governor's budget also unwisely uses a whistling through the graveyard approach by basing his spending plan on receiving $850 million in federal aid for Medical Assistance, the state-administered health care plan for the poor, elderly, and disabled in Pennsylvania. The problem is there is no telling if and when the state will receive those federal funds. The governor and his supporters in the House Democratic Caucus should have learned after seven years of missing budget deadlines that you do not achieve a balanced budget by crossing your collective fingers and wishing for federal aid.

"We need to act now to protect against tax increases in the future. We need to act now with further decreases in state spending. We need to fix foreseeable problems with the state employees and public school employees retirement systems before we reach the tipping point.

"Clearly, the bill that passed today is not the bill that will become law. It's a sham, designed to provide taxpayers with the illusion that the budget process has started in earnest. This is not a real, negotiated, fiscally sustainable budget. We will all end up paying for it, well beyond when the governor leaves office."

No comments: