Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rendell Cuts Half Billion From His Budget Plan

Governor Rendell has updated his budget proposal by adding more cuts to nearly every executive department’s spending plan. The release comes just a day after Rendell proposed a 16% increase in the state’s Earned Income Tax from 3.07% to 3.57%. During today’s emergency cabinet meeting, Governor Rendell told administration officials he wants to cut 212 million dollars in education spending, 106 million dollars from the Public Welfare budget, 3 million from parole and probation funding, and 43 million from the Department of Community and Economic Development, among other cuts. But Rendell says no matter how many cuts are put in place, taxes still need to go up this year. “I know a lot of people, unfortunately react ideologically and say ‘no taxes. No new taxes, ever. I’ll never vote for any new taxes.’ Well, how are we going to fulfill our Constitutional requirement? I mean, I’ll be happy to ask the four, any of the four caucuses to submit a budget that balances, and I’ll be happy to take a look at it.” Rendell says he’s not happy about his cuts, but they need to happen. He says the “Classrooms for the Future” program is one of his favorite initiatives, but its spending has been zeroed out. In all, Rendell trimmed 500 million dollars from his initial budget. Republicans point out his updated spending plan is still more expensive than this year’s budget, and say the governor isn’t serious about curbing government expenses. Rendell says he is still optimistic the June 30th budget deadline can be met, “We’ve got, as I’ve calculated, 15 working days. If we were here for ten hours a day, that’s a 150 hours of work. And I can’t imagine that we couldn’t get this resolved. So I want all of us prepared to be in Harrisburg 7 days a week until there is a budget.”

No comments: