Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The LuLac Edition #876, July 14th, 2009



If one were to look at this political year in LuLac land, a conclusion could be made that there exists a comedy of many errors. With the problems concerning the Luzerne County Judiciary, the Probation and Sheriff’s office, the PNC Field fiasco as well as the Yankee “deal”, if you couldn’t laugh, you’d be crying. But the recent revelation about Senator Mellow’s rent on a building he owned has put us into another ring of comedy hell. Through 2009, we’ve gone from a skit on Saturday Night Live to Mad Magazine to low rent satire. We are fast approaching another comic level, that of Monty Python. Like a merry go round out of control, where the laughing and surreal comedic events stop, no one can say.


Ed Rendell is now in full campaign mode. Videos are circulating around the state stating his case for a tax increase. The state budget impasse is creating problems on all levels.
GOVERNING: On the governmental level, state employees will be having payless paydays. That means morale will be lower than usual, customer service will be virtually nonexistent and services will be cut. Every facet of state life will be affected from police protection to the distribution of welfare benefits. On PCN last Wednesday, the Governor fielded calls from state employees who were not happy. See, my take on this is that if you are a state worker, you have to know that upon taking the job, your livelihood and career will depend on lawmakers passing a budget on time. While I can sympathize with the missed paychecks, I also refer you to my previous point. The Governor didn’t help matters the other day when he said a statue should be erected to him in the homes of the state employees because he’s making interest free loans available. The problem is that many workers are being denied credit because of dings on their financial records. Now that’s not the Governor’s fault but he’s taking the heat for it.
STRATEGY: Ed Rendell might be a lot of things but a budget strategist, he is not. The Governor is the face of state government and therefore state workers take out their frustration on him. The Governor and the State House seem to be outmaneuvered by a small group of House Republicans and the GOP dominated State Senate. What is happening now is that interest groups are afraid that the House will introduce a budget bill with all of the slashes in funding but no tax increase. This will effectively be a defeat for the Democratic party. It will have a double edged, fatal sword too. Onerous cuts will be made in state funding and no tax increase will be in place to provide a balanced budget. The Dems and the Governor lose all around.
LONG TERM: The Governor is quick to be gracious in his assessment of the problem. While most likely tempted to do so, he does not blame the lawmakers but Wall Street greed instead. Rendell is saying in his latest message to the state that a long term solution must be reached. If services are cut, and they will be, people will suffer. Services the average Pennsylvanian takes for granted will be harder to come by. If there is no new tax increase, I am certain we will pay for it down the line. One must ask the question whether Pennsylvania wants to solve the budget with a short term jingoistic approach that will not raises taxes today. Or will they leave the future of children, senior citizens, environmental activists and basic service users more a legacy of greater costs in the future? The decisions are tough ones and separate the politicos from the statesmen. I’m not crazy about paying more taxes. But the alternative is to do nothing and let problems fester and services dwindle to the point of atrophy. Yesterday the House took a gamble and amended Gov. Ed Rendell's budget to set the level of spending for 2009-10 at $27.8 billion. But it carves out funding for higher education and proposes finding a separate revenue source to fill that $1.3 million need. Among the ideas that Committee Chairman Dwight Evans proposed include an increase in the state's 3.07 personal income tax, an increase in the state's 6 percent sales tax, an expansion of the items subject to sales tax, video poker or some other revenue source yet to be determined.
The Higher Education Fund would support the State System of Higher Education, community colleges, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency's grants to colleges and private colleges. It provides a $300 million increase in funding for schools, which is less than the $418 million that Rendell had proposed. It restores funding for the Scotland School, the Scranton School for the Deaf, hospitals, and libraries. It also requires freezing the state's business assets tax, tapping the Rainy Day Fund, among other revenue sources. In the meantime, Governor Ed is in campaign mode. Take a look at this:


At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we have gone through so many levels of hell it isn't even funny. like you said, we passed funny a long time ago....it is absurd.

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mericle could give him a hand

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Letterman's top 5 list:
5. Tall redheads.
4. Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
3. High taxes.
2. WILK and Barack Obama.
1. Ed Rendell.
Those are the things the Yonk is in the tank for.


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