Thursday, March 31, 2011

People disapprove of barebones budgeting, they support shared solutions

We've all been there. We've seen an advertisement on tv or the computer about a product that seemed too good to be true, but we bought it anyway because it sounded great. Then you get it home and get a good look at it, it fails to meet your expectations. But it's too late, you bought it. For better or worse it's yours.

Well last fall the residents of Pennsylvania were sold a bill of goods. Candidate Corbett made promises on the campaign trail about more jobs and less taxes. And it sounded pretty good to some people. However a few weeks ago the people (all 26% who supported him and the remaining 74% of us who didn't) saw what 'Governor Corporate' actually had to offer.

During his budget address we finally heard about what we bought. And turns out a lot of Pennsylvanians didn't like what they heard. Sure the budget address opened up with some great lines about "shared sacrifice" and "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves," but Pennsylvanians don't share the same definitions of these Corbett-isms.

We're not alone in our frustration. Turns out voters everywhere are not very fond of barebones budgeting. For example:

·       Gov. Chris Christie, R-NJ, experienced a 10 point drop in approval rating between December (56%) his budget address in February.
·       In Ohio, Republican Gov. John Kasich has seen the number of residents disapproving of his job performance double since January, from 22% to 46%.
·       With outcry over education cuts, a near equal amount of Floridians approve (28%) and disapprove (24%) of their new Republican Gov. Rick Scott's job performance.
·       Due to the labor standoff in Wisconsin last month, Gov. Scott Walker is unpopular with 51% of voters.

Back here at home, Gov. Corbett made national news following his budget address. A poll found that 78% of Pennsylvanians oppose cutting funding to local school districts and 67% dislike the idea of slashing funding in half for the state's public universities (a national record).

It's not that residents aren't willing to share in the sacrifice, or aren't willing to scale back on their "nice-to-haves." It's that Pennsylvanians genuinely believe multimillion dollar corporations with their tax breaks aren't sharing, and that their tax breaks aren't "must-haves."

Pennsylvanians have repeatedly come out in favor levying some sort of fee on the out-of-state drillers, bounding across our state forests and extracting our natural gas. Seventy percent of Pennsylvanians want to be more like Texas and Alaska and impose such a tax.

Pennsylvanians believe major corporations operating in the state shouldn't be able rent a post office box in Delaware and call it their headquarters to avoid paying their fair share, driving up the dependency on taxes levied on Pennsylvanian-owner companies. Pennsylvanians want to close the Delaware loophole... like Texas and Alaska.

Pennsylvanians don't understand why the Commonwealth is the only state in the nation that doesn't tax smokeless tobacco, when major producing states do. Pennsylvanians want to be more like Texas and Alaska and have a fair tax on all tobacco products.

The Commonwealth has solutions available and Pennsylvanians support them. Pennsylvanians can manage the scalpel approach to budget cuts, but they won't buy whatever it is the governor claims to be selling.