Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bad Republican fiscal policy got us into this budget mess

After attending today’s mid-year budget briefing by Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, the multi-billion dollar budget deficit that Pennsylvania is facing is not unexpected given the past four years’ budget messes and the bad news is not likely to end.

The Independent Fiscal Office’s latest report revealed a multi-billion dollar budget deficit that was reaffirmed today by Secretary Zogby and points to a dreadful fiscal crisis for our new governor. It is certain that the extent of the gap is massive and we cannot continue with the same fiscal policies of the past four years and expect anything other than a continued deficit projection.

I see three main points concerning the budget deficit:

1.    Gov. Tom Corbett’s fiscal year 2014-15 budget was based on one-time revenue sources that the administration now admits was bad policy.

2.    The Corbett administration already borrowed to meet operational expenses and projections indicate the state will be cash flow negative from January through March 2015.

3.    The Republicans that control the House and Senate marched in lockstep with the Corbett administration on fiscal policy for the last four years. They also need to be held accountable for this failed fiscal policy and be willing to work to change it in a bipartisan manner that produces solutions.

Additionally, our state has fallen from the top 10 in job creation to last in the nation over the past four years.

This budget situation also has bad ramifications for policy proposals, such as infrastructure, jobs and equitable education funding, because most initiatives need state money to implement.

The Wolf administration offers a different fiscal policy that received a strong mandate in the recent election. This most recent forecast makes it even more obvious that we need to follow that change in policy.

I’m definitely ready for a fresh start, which begins Jan. 20.