Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What to Cut? The Debate Begins

Spending cuts are the theme of this year's budget proposal, but a conservative think-tank says Governor Rendell has the ability to eliminate billions more in state spending. A new report from the Commonwealth Foundation says Pennsylvania could cut $5 billion from its budget, and still carry out government responsibilities. Rendell's budget proposal comes in at just more than $29 billion, but Nathan Benefield, the Foundation's director of policy research, says it includes billions of dollars in what he calls government welfare. “You know, funding for Boscov's. Or tax credits for big Hollywood movies. Or smaller things like the Opportunity Grant Program, which has been heavily criticized for not producing the number of jobs it's supposed to create. And we found billions of these types of programs in the state budget that are not really being talked about being cut by Governor Rendell.” Benefield argues if companies like Boscov's were worth lending money to, private companies would do-so. He's also against state subsidies for initiatives like a new Major League Soccer Stadium in Chester County and a new airport in Hazelton. Backers of those efforts say state investments spur economic growth.

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