The story is told:
Agreement announced on plan to close state’s $26 billion deficit
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California’s legislative leaders agreed Monday on a plan to close the state’s $26 billion budget shortfall, potentially getting the state back on firm financial ground so it can stop issuing IOUs.
As the group rallies to oppose cuts in state spending, should it be forgotten that California voters, by a nearly two-to-one margin, rejected tax increases to close the state’s huge budget deficit?
And here in the Keystone State, the Republican-controlled state Senate once again refused to accept Governor Ed Rendell’s overspending plans:
Sides still far apart on Pa. budget
By Angela Couloumbis and Mario F. Cattabiani, Philadelphia Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG – Yesterday marked yet another day in the Capitol with much talk and action, but no fundamental change in the stalemate over a state budget.
Almost four weeks into the new fiscal year without a spending plan, Gov. Rendell and Republicans in the legislature do not appear any closer to breaking the impasse over what the fiscal blueprint should be for Pennsylvania during the Great Recession.
And Republicans who control the Senate only reinforced that point yesterday by unequivocally dismissing a spending proposal crafted by House Democrats – and backed by Rendell – and replacing it with one that is a couple of billion dollars smaller.
The GOP proposal (H.B. 1416), which passed the Senate, 31-19, last night, now gets volleyed back to the Democratic-controlled House, where its fate remains unclear.
But the administration yesterday swiftly criticized it, saying it did not differ from a past Senate GOP proposal that contained steep – and, in Rendell’s mind, unacceptable – cuts to key education, social-welfare, and economic-development programs.
“The Senate has merely warmed over a budget bill that has been rejected . . . by the administration,” said Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo.
The budget unveiled by Senate GOP leaders yesterday would be $27.1 billion – $2 billion less than the $29.1 billion proposal passed by the House last week and less than the nearly $29 billion plan initially introduced by Rendell.
The governor’s plan had called for increasing the state’s personal income-tax rate by 16 percent for three years to help plug the $3.3 billion deficit. But Republican lawmakers have said there is no way they would vote for such a tax hike in the midst of a recession.
The sole Senate Democrat to cross party lines and vote for the $27.1 billion plan, Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton), said:
The reality is we don’t have all the money to fund all the programs we would like to. Working families understand that.
Exactly right. And Pennsylvanians are not in the least bit interested in tax increases. In a time when working people in Pennsylvania are just happy to keep their jobs, and few are expecting raises this year, the idea of having their taxes raised doesn’t sit well.
Oh, like the picture showed, people still want more and more and more government services, but no one wants to pay more in taxes.
Pennsylvania Republicans are doing the responsible thing: they are trying to hold down spending to what the public are willing to pay in taxes.