Rendell to Sign Budget Next Week

Rendell  passes on last chance to bring PA Budget in on time as Governor

After the House and Senate both scrambled to pass the budget and get it on Governor Ed Rendell’s desk before last night’s midnight deadline, the Governor decided not to sign it, despite a so-called bipartisan agreement, and the fact that even he himself urged lawmakers to expeditiously move on the budget Bill so he could sign it on time.

Rendell says he hopes to sign the Bill next week, but that he may have to veto it entirely if lawmakers cannot settle disputes over companion legislation. He also says the $1 billion budget deficit is unconstitutional.

Perhaps yesterday’s FMAP Conference, hosted by Rendell, played a part in his decision to forego his last opportunity as PA Governor to pass the budget on time. At the conference he and other state governors urged Federal lawmakers to follow through on Medicaid funds owed to the states. The conference focused on the fact that many states are running on stripped down budgets now, and that promised Federal aide was essential in maintaining state programs essential to public well being.

As a personal observation while watching the FMAP Conference, I couldn’t help but wonder why all these states insist on cutting back on social programs, and why efficiency of government is never addressed. Perhaps the legislators should consider small across the board pay cuts, and take a serious look at streamlining operations of various government entities. Contracts with private companies could be renegotiated. There are many ways to increase government ‘thriftiness’, as I’m sure most of us agree is seldom seen in the public sector.

I just have a hard time believing that when the Governor says we need to layoff 100 park employees, that it equates to closing 17 state parks. The budget cuts may hurt, and indeed some government employees seem likely to be without work soon, but in the case of the state park employees, I believe 100 laid-off park employees spread across the state could prevent any parks from closing, or at least less than the 17 quoted.

The concept of take something small from everything, and not everything from something small.


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