Tuesday, December 8, 2015

PA Budget

No chance to post last few weeks.  Sorry.  Working extra shifts and family obligations.

Just wanted to make a quick comment on the continued gridlock in Harrisburg concerning the next yearly budget.  Apparently a framework for agreement had been established and agreed upon by the principle negotiators, but was rejected by a small but vocal coalition of GOP reps.  They do not seem to believe that any compromise is needed.  As I recently said to a friend of mine, it is admirable that many in the GOP feel strongly about their principles.  There are times when I wish for such tenacity in the actions of the Democrats. 

However, when the electorate chooses a new governor, historically rejecting the reelection of a sitting governor as was done in the last gubernatorial election, then it may be incumbent for those elected in the House and Senate to understand that the public wants a new approach, and that the same old tired policies are not acceptable.  Certainly, no one expected that newly elected Tom Wolf would get everything he wanted in the new budget talks, but it seems that some members of the GOP have decided that he should get nothing, as if his election did not matter.

So, 5 plus months into the new financial year, funding for our schools, and public institutions which provide needed goods and services for the disadvantaged is still on hold.  Whether a new budget accord can be reached by Christmas seems doubtful which means that while our public servants in Harrisburg spend the holidays with their family and friends, enjoying all the benefits that their job and their citizenship as Pennsylvanians provides, thousands of our fellow state citizens will struggle through the holidays without the services and benefits that they need to survive. 

I would suggest that we deny our governor, state representatives and state senators an enjoyable holiday season by withholding their paychecks, or closing their homes due to the budget impasse, but that would just make me like them, public servants who have forgotten their duty to make the best, sometimes tough choices for all of us, but who prefer to swim in a pool poisoned with ideological blinders.  And spiteful to boot.

What is truly galling in all this, is that while, as I have said before, the window of opportunity to gain some much needed revenue from the natural gas industry is rapidly closing, we still could have provided a base tax, which, should the industry gain traction again when the current oil glut recedes, it has been clearly indicated by the GOP in our state that no additional tax shall be enacted.  Better we continue to rank in the bottom fifth of all states in terms of our contribution to public education, and that our infrastructure continue to fall apart.  

I am not sure when the GOP joined in lock step with the business community to decide that taxes should only be paid by individuals, but it seems clear that our democratic system of decisions made for the benefit of all citizens has been hijacked by those with the most money.  Capitalism, for all its benefits, is no better than any other economic system, if all the benefits flow to a small percentage of the population.  As a nation we seem captive to the influences of big money flowing from big business, and particularly in Pennsylvania, we are hostage to the belief that anything that helps the business community helps the state.  It doesn't seem to matter if by giving the business community a pass on their responsibility to share in the cost of life, we burden everyday working people with additional taxes, it only seems to matter if they provide jobs not withstanding if in providing those jobs they pollute our environment or pay such low wages that the citizens need additional local, state and federal assistance to survive thereby increasing the need for more revenue which results in higher taxes for the working class again. 

Like a noose around our neck, this cycle is strangling the middle class while our reps in Harrisburg argue over how much more they should tighten the rope.

No comments:

Post a Comment