Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Corbett, Republicans ignored the problem for four years

During his recent mid-year budget briefing, Corbett administration Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said the cost growth in the 2015-16 state budget, which was cited as the reason for the projected $2 billion deficit, is nothing new. Which begs the question: Why didn’t they do something to deal with it, instead of ignoring it for the past four years?

If Zogby and others knew the one-time revenue fixes used to balance the last four state budgets would not solve the state’s overall fiscal problem, that begs more questions: Did they use those tactics merely for “window-dressing” of the budget or were they simply being irresponsible with your tax dollars?

Another example of the Corbett folks simply ignoring the problem with state finances is that everyone knew Act 120 of 2010 included mandated cost increases in the out-years, yet Corbett actually proposed reducing the payments to balance the budget instead of meeting the obligations.

While Zogby might be continuing the false claim that the Corbett administration didn’t raise taxes on middle-class families, the fact is those families did get hit with higher taxes, such as property tax increases and higher gas taxes.

Meanwhile, legislative Republicans and Corbett also gave away the store to the tune of $2 billion in corporate tax breaks instead of fixing our ongoing structural budget deficit problem. Those tax breaks didn’t result in more jobs as promised, instead Pennsylvania’s job growth plummeted from 7th to the bottom of the pack at 50th.

Zogby went on to admit that one-time budget fixes don’t work, yet he continues to push for more one-time revenue gains like selling the liquor stores, electric competition and pension reform. Those ideas simply won’t solve Pennsylvania’s structural budget deficit.

Finally, Zogby now admits that legislative Republicans and the Corbett administration created a structural budget deficit of $2 billion, yet here are just a few of the things that incoming Speaker of the House, then House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai said about the budget during final passage on June 30th:

“We have been nothing but responsible.”
"We have been fiscal stewards.”
“We have been about governing.”
"Let us talk about responsible governance.”
“We have been prudent, fiscally responsible, and prioritized state spending on the most vulnerable in our society.”
 “We are fiscally prudent, recognizing we have a responsibility to the taxpayers.”
Maybe not so much …