Pennsylvania is again held hostage by the annual state budget crisis. The latest posturing finds legislative leaders from both Republican and Democratic parties threatening a budget with “deep cuts” that will have a negative effect on school districts and county governments.
If the Pennsylvania Legislature must make cuts to balance the state budget, then they must also provide relief from mandated costs that will fall to the counties and school districts. It is totally irresponsible to pass these costs down to the local government level, knowing full well that local taxes will have to be raised. Any state official that votes to cut funding without also eliminating the mandate is guilty of a “coward’s tax increase”.
In light of the poor economy, now is the time to show real fiscal responsibility and cut unnecessary costs at all levels of government. A tax increase on the working people of Pennsylvania is not the answer. If elected officials in Harrisburg feel that cuts are necessary, then they should start at the top by cutting their own expenses, reducing staff and eliminating Walking Around Money, which, according to published reports, accounts for $750 million in the state budget.
Mark B. McCracken
Clearfield County Commissioner