Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Budget???

The Capitol Building in Harrisburg should be renamed the Spin Machine building.

From the Commonwealth Foundation:

Pennsylvania Education Spending

•Pennsylvania's education spending increased from $4 billion in 1980 to over $25 billion in 2009-a 133% increase in per-pupil spending (from $6,171 to $14,420, in 2010 dollars).
•Since 2000, enrollment has decreased by 26,960 while schools have hired 32,937 more staff members.
•School district fund reserves are almost eight times the amount of Gov. Rendell's proposed $354 million increase in state subsidies.

A Taxpayer's Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania

A Taxpayer's Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania identifies opportunities to cut over $4 billion in wasteful state spending in Gov. Rendell's proposed FY 2010-11 budget. The report also offers a series of recommendations for resolving the current revenue shortfall and reducing the size and burden of government on Pennsylvanians.

State government consumption and spending of taxpayer money have grown dramatically in recent years. Since 1970, Pennsylvania's total operating budget has increased from $4.2 billion to $65.9 billion, an inflation-adjusted increase of over 167%.[1] As a share of state personal income, Pennsylvania's operating budget rose from 8.8% in FY 1970-71 to an estimated 13.2% in FY 2009-10-an increase of more than 51%.[2]

The effect of this tax-borrow-and-spend agenda has not produced the promised economic revitalization, but stagnation. During Ed Rendell's tenure as governor, Pennsylvania ranks 32nd, 41st, and 39th in job, personal income, and population growth, respectively, among the 50 states.[3]

On October 9, 2009, after an unprecedented 101-day delay, the Pennsylvania General Assembly approved, and Governor Ed Rendell signed, a $27.8 billion General Fund Budget for FY 2009-2010. A revenue shortfall has since emerged, and politicians will be scrambling to fill a multi-billion dollar budget gap with rising pension contributions and the disappearance of federal "stimulus" dollars on the horizon. Against Commonwealth Foundation recommendations, the FY 2009-10 budget exhausted the state's "Rainy Day" fund and other one-time revenue sources. A Taxpayer's Budget 2010 offers budgetary and public policy alternatives to deal with this fiscal crisis.

A Taxpayer's Budget 2010 identifies wasteful and unnecessary programs in the state budget and off-budget agencies and offers recommendations for improving government services and reforming the budget process for greater efficiency. Our recommendations are organized into three sections:

•Eliminate Wasteful Spending: A Taxpayers Budget 2010 identifies $4.13 billion in spending cuts - $1.00 billion from the state General Fund Budget, $2.21 billion from other operating funds, and $926 million from the capital budget and off-budget programs.

•Adopt Market-Based Delivery of Government Services: Spending on public education, benefits for state workers, and Medicaid is growing far beyond taxpayers' ability to pay. By adopting market-based reforms in the delivery of services, state government can not only reduce costs, but improve quality.

•Adopt Spending and Budgetary Transparency Reforms: Transparency in government spending and instituting performance-based budgeting would help identify and eliminate wasteful expenditures, as shown in other states.
Before imposing tax increases on working Pennsylvanians and job creators, Harrisburg policymakers need to prioritize spending, justify all $66 billion in state spending, and cut waste from state government.

Pennsylvania ran up a $3 billion loan to the U.S. government that will need to be repaid back starting the end of this year according to this article by LARA BRENCKLE of The Patriot-News.

The submitted budget document relies on $850 million coming from the federal government for Medical Assistance that has not been passed by Congress or the Senate yet.

Pileggi warned that even if a new budget is approved by the deadline, a state revenue deficit in the range of $4 billion to $5 billion will await the new governor-elected in November

Finally the fiscal bill that must accompany the budget that spells out where the revenues will come from that are delineated in the budget has not been passed. Legislators will tell you that budget is in place

In recent days, House and Senate leaders expressed a determination to enact a on-time budget for the first time during Mr. Rendell's tenure. But this feat will likely be accomplished by leaving action on the fiscal bill, which is normally part of the budget package until later in the week. The fiscal bill is important because it spells out where the revenues originate. The agreement doesn't provide for a tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars or a hike in the state cigarette tax, as Mr. Rendell had sought.

It's like writing checks out of a checkbook but not calling the bank to find out if the funds are there or not. This budget is nothing but a political document so incumbents can make a "claim" they got it done on time. In reality it is a misrepresentation of a failed effort to meet their obligation and the duties of their office. Inflated figures, bogus income, and maintenance of per diems don't qualify Rendell to call this a "conservative" budget.


Scott said...

I am puzzled. Up here, in upstate New York, we hear about Harrisburg passing a $29 billion budget. A look at your site, and we see you analyzing your $66 billion 2010-2011 budget. For example...

What gives?? BTW if you were in NY, you could cope with a $135 billion budget. Thank you, Scott Saunders

McGruff said...


The difference is between the General Fund budget which was passed at $28 billion and the total operating budget which exceeds $66 billion. The operating budget includes federal money and other sources not contained in the General Fund budget. Don't understand why they do it that way but they do.