This is exactly the message that House Republicans have been trying to get across for months. We have been ready to work on the budget, we have been ready to trim the fat, and we have been ready to make the difficult decisions needed to pass a balanced budget without raising taxes on families.
Unfortunately, we are not in a position to make those decisions. The House is controlled by the Democrats -- members of Rendell's own party. They have failed to present a budget to the full House for a vote, so Republicans have been left wondering when they are going to be ready to work on this critical budget.
The Senate, on the other hand, has passed a balanced budget -- a budget that controls spending and does not include an increase in the Personal Income Tax. That budget was stonewalled in the Democrat-controlled House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote.
Rendell set the precedent for this late budget. He has not been able to get a single budget passed on time since he took office because of his negotiating strategy. The fact is that Rendell likes to operate from a crisis position. His modus operandi is to start talks when his opponents are cornered. He recognizes that legislators, like myself, cannot stand the thought of people going without pay or state functions, like our park systems, shutting down. He uses that fact as leverage to coerce his budget priorities into law.
Rendell is using the same tactics he has used every year since becoming governor, but this year is not the year for games. We must come together to do what is best for Pennsylvania, which is to pass a responsible budget that does not raise taxes, and prioritizes spending.
Finally, if the governor wants his budget passed in the House, he need only have his Philadelphia crony, House Democrat Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans, to bring it to the floor for consideration -- unless he is not confident he has the votes on the Democrat side to get a tax increase through.
Seth Grove is a Republican representing the 196th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.