Thursday, August 12, 2010

GOP Reacts to Governor's Budget Solution

Republican Allegheny County Representative Mike Turzai took aim today at part of Governor Ed Rendell's proposal to close a $282 million hole in the budget. Rendell would cut discretionary line items by 1.9 percent, which his administration estimates would slash $212 million and he would get the remaining $70 million from a natural gas extraction tax. The state budget approved in June banked on an $850 million FMAP bill from Congress, but the state ended up receiving only $600 million. Rendell's plan would cut his prized education subsidy by $50 million and Turzai says that's a start. The McCandless Representative says there was an understanding before the the budget was passed that if there were any shortfalls, the difference would be made up with cuts, not with new or increased taxes. "The governor is always after increased taxes, over the last two years this governor has wanted to increase the personal income tax, he's wanted to expand the sales tax, he's wanted to do a gas tax, he's wanted to a tobacco tax. You know what? He hasn't gotten it. And why? Because the public doesn't want increased taxes, they want controlled spending and the legislators reflect that on both sides of the aisle." Turzai says the money can be found in the budget without introducing a natural gas tax, specifically by eliminating discretionary spending known as "walking around money" and a deeper cut to the education subsidy.  He says with those actions there would still be an increase in funding to education and doing away with WAMs would hurt no one. Turzai says he'll vote "no" on the governor's proposal and doubts it will get past the House.

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