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Will the Republicans in Pennsylvania succumb to Democratic spending demands again?

Recent primaries have produced a historic, perhaps unprecedented simultaneous defeat of strong chairs of both the Senate and House of Representatives Expenditure Committees of the Pennsylvania State Parliament. Each race had its own dynamics, but the common thread was voters who saw incumbents not conservative enough to fight for a more financially responsible state budget.

Budget tight times under Harrisburg’s Capitol Dome, and the problem of the day is whether the Republican minority passes the Democratic and re-bloated state budgets, or the GOP majority sticks to voters. Do you listen to the message?

History suggests that they do not listen to the message.

At least back in Governor Ed Rendell’s administration, a sufficient number of Republicans have routinely supported the Democratic Party by exploding state spending. To be fair, it should be noted that in recent years Republicans have blunted the sharper edge of Governor Tom Wolfe’s budget. But spending is still escalating at an unsustainable rate.

Fiscal conservatives are pushing for taxpayer protection legislation and related constitutional amendments to limit rising spending. Taxpayer protection law, as it is known, will limit the increase in annual spending to inflation and population growth.

Pennsylvania’s population growth is stagnant, but inflation is skyrocketing above 8%, which can increase spending a lot. Last week, Lincoln Radio Journal state legislator Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) pointed out that taxpayer protection legislation is a limit, not a goal, and that spending growth should be kept well below that limit. did.

This year is especially likely to be overspending. The state’s financial resources are seemingly full of federal cash aimed at blunting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and billions of dollars of state tax revenues beyond expectations. Governor Wolf and the Constitutional Democrats have advanced an optional virtual Smörgås board to spend all of their cash.

But after this year, the financial situation is not so bright. The state’s structural budget deficit will eventually bring the Commonwealth back into the red position, creating the need for future tax increases. As the stock market is in the midst of a severe recession, we also need to address the severe funding shortages of the state’s civil servant pension system, which is becoming even more stressful.

Using current revenue surpluses to reinforce these funds and inflate “rainy day” funds to smooth out future shortages is a wise approach and is being pursued by conservative legislators. .. Further use of surplus should also be limited to temporary needs and should not be used to fund ongoing programs.

Governor Wolf is proposing to devote hundreds of millions more to public education, even though billions of federal COVID relief funds have already been distributed directly to school districts. This is the trap we’ve seen before. During the Obama administration, a federal program designed to combat the effects of the “Great Recession” provided the state government with a temporary bump of funding. Governor Rendell has designated many of them for public education.

Despite the only availability of funds, the school district used the money to pay for ongoing programs. Governor Tom Corbett took office and did not backfill lost federal funds with state dollars. He was subsequently accused of “reducing” funding for public education, despite the fact that state funding actually increased. After that, Corbett lost his reelection bid.

The Democratic Party is also proposing to send a one-time “stimulating” check to families in Pennsylvania. Inflation is now at its highest level in 40 years, simply because the Federal Reserve has expanded the money supply to fund the trillions of stimulus programs passed by Congress during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was no corresponding increase in productivity to offset the impact of printing all the cash that creates a situation where too much money is chasing too few goods and services: the classic definition of inflation. ..

The Federal Reserve is currently raising interest rates to cool the economy and reduce inflation. Stimulating the state’s economy by shoveling more cash will counter those measures and contribute to continued high inflation.

Conclusion: The Republican majority of the Legislature needs to resist the call for heavy spending by democracy and secure its current surplus to strengthen the state’s financial position. This is the message that voters sent last month to expel those who compromised in the name of “getting things done” rather than creating a financially responsible course.

It’s easy to see if the lesson has been learned.

Roman S. Henry is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Lincoln Institute and hosts the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal and American Radio Journal. His email address is

Will the Republicans in Pennsylvania succumb to Democratic spending demands again?

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