Tuesday, May 26, 2009

State Budget Source of "Endless" Debate

The budget proposal passed by the Republican-led Senate is going under the microscope in the House Appropriations Committee this week. The measure calls for nearly $1.7 billion less in spending than Governor Rendell's blueprint. Matt Brouillette, president and C-E-O of the
Commonwealth Foundation testified in favor of the bill last week. He says it's important to remember that the state has no money of its own to spend -- rather only what it takes through taxes and amasses in debt. But Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, says the cuts in the Senate bill would go too far. She says the cuts eliminate programs that reach the state's most vulnerable citizens. Ward says instead, the budget should dip into the rainy day fund and health care provider retention account. She also notes that 33 other states have either raised taxes or are considering such proposals. Some lawmakers are suggesting an increase in the state income tax.

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