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Friday, January 30, 2009

The State Budget: Are There Responsible Fiscal Caretakers in Harrisburg Who Really Watch Our Money?

Written by Roberta Biros

I usually choose my blog topics based on recent news stories, but today I’m writing “By Request”.

I receive comments and suggestions often. I even received an interesting “list” of topics via my Comment feature today [read the suggestions HERE].

I have a growing list of topics on which I’d like to eventually research and report. Today’s topic, however, was a request made only last night, but I felt it worthy of my attention as it is an important and timely topic of interest . . . the upcoming proposed State Budget for 2009-2010.

As I understand it, Governor Rendell plans on revealing his 2009-2010 Budget next week (February 4, 2009). I'm personally counting the days. This is a very important story that we should ALL watch closely (I know I will be). Last year’s budget put Pennsylvania in a $2 billion hole that seems to be getting deeper. Everyone is aware of the financial problems of our government (at the County, State, and National level), but I ask the question “Who is REALLY doing something about it?”

Last year, the bloated 2008-2009 State Budget passed overwhelmingly 170 – 32. So, who was trying to “do something” about our fiscal problems then? In my opinion, the only people in Harrisburg that truly earned their paychecks last year were the 32 Legislators who voted AGAINST that Budget. Who were they? Well allow me to list them for you (in order by District Number):

Rep. Bradley Roae
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe
Rep. Michele Brooks
Rep. Timothy Hennessey
Rep. Mike Turzai
Rep. Thomas Creighton
Rep. John Maher
Rep. Keith Gillespie
Rep. Scott Hutchinson
Rep. Kathy Rapp
Rep. Jerry Stern
Rep. Michael Fleck
Rep. Russell Fairchild
Rep. Rob Kauffman
Rep. Todd Rock
Rep. Dan Moul
Rep. Scott Perry
Rep. Ronald Miller
Rep. Stanley Saylor
Rep. Rosemarie Swanger
Rep. Karen Boback
Rep. Samuel Rohrer
Rep. Jim Cox
Rep. Michael Peifer
Rep. Paul Clymer
Rep. Bob Mensch
Rep. Curt Schroder
Rep. Carl Manz
Rep. Steven Nickol
Rep. Kathy Manderino (the Lone Democrat in the group)
Rep. Beverly Mackereth
Rep. William Gabig

Make note of each and every name on this list. THESE are the brave people in Harrisburg who had the intestinal fortitude to vote NAY on last year’s so-called “Budget”.

Points of interest for those of us interested in the Mercer County (and surrounding) area?

ON THE LIST:
Representative Michele Brooks (R-17)
Representative Brad Roae (R-6) from neighboring Crawford County

ABSENT FROM THE LIST:
Representative Dick Stevenson (R-8)
Representative Mark Longietti (D-7)

If you are a "detail junkie" like me and you’d care to read the entire text of the Legislation (all 207 pages of it), CLICK HERE to download the PDF.

Some of you may be of the opinion that “it is just a Budget” . . . “you have to pass something”. Well, I beg to differ with you. I am the fiscal steward of my home and business. We have a very strict “Budget” in our household. According to “responsible fiscal procedures”, our Budget is balanced. We force ourselves to live within our means. We do not plan our Budget based on borrowing money to make ends meet. The same should hold true for the Government . . . at EVERY level.

So, I wait with great anticipation to see what Governor Rendell has up his sleeve in the soon-to-be released 2009-2010 State Budget. There has been much discussion of ways to cut costs, but will those cost cutting measures actually make their way to paper? And if the Governor's budget suggestions are again "bloated", will there still be brave fiscal stewards willing to protect our best interests in Harrisburg? I'm counting on it.

As always, just my opinion.
~Roberta Biros, Mercer County Conservatives

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