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LETTER: A closer look at the Pa. budget
I had a slow day last week so I read the auditor general’s report on the fiscal condition of the state of Pennsylvania, Rep. Seth Grove’s newsletter, and a press release from Sen. Scott Wagner. Then I did a little math.
When the Pa. GOP took over the governor's office and both houses of the Legislature four years ago, the state had over 1 billion dollars in cash on hand. After four "balanced" budgets and a lot of cuts, there is now only some 200 million dollars on hand. That tells me that we have had a structural deficit for at least four years and that the budget needs either more cuts or higher taxes — neither of which is in the Republican's proposed budget(s). What they do propose, however, is to take the 200 million dollars which remain in cash on hand and put it in their next "balanced budget" as a revenue. That means, of course, that if their budget is totally accurate (and they have a poor track record on that front) we would end the next year with absolutely no money in the bank. And if the budget is not accurate, the state has the real possibility of literally running out of money before the end of the year! I don't call that fiscal conservatism, I call it poor planning.
In household terms, when a family plans their yearly budget, do they throw all their savings account money into the budget as a revenue and then plan on spending all their savings during the year? I guess that if the family is very foolish, that is exactly what they do.
W. LEE WOODMANSEE
West Manchester Township