The Legislative Action Arm of the Pennsylvania Family Institute
State Budget Update and Alert
PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION!
With a speed that stunned outside observers and rank and file legislators, what looked to be the beginnings of a protracted budget siege came to a sudden end Monday night. A smiling Gov. Ed Rendell went before television cameras at 11:03 p.m. Monday and announced a budget deal that includes significant spending increases, and new, pet projects that will harm families and put taxpayers in arrears for years to come.
Unlike past budget agreements, this one did not include written detail. Negotiations behind closed doors apparently involved tacit agreements, perhaps a few winks and nods, and broad concessions that are allowing the Governor to get nearly all of his spending agenda, while apparently keeping him from the tax increases he sought.
Mortgaging our future. "No payments until January, 2009!" perhaps should be the advertising line to go with this year's budget. Like the family that buys the living room suite or new kitchen appliances it can't afford by putting off the bill until later, the General Assembly and Gov. Rendell are poised to put additional future burdens on families and businesses for their spendthrift habits of today.
For example: the agreement is said to include $75 million for the governor's "Pre-K Counts" initiative, which is the beginning of a universal, taxpayer funded, heavily regulated and unionized pre-school program for the state's three and four year olds. While it's $75 million today; it will be billions in years to come. Watch out for higher property taxes!
"Pre-K Counts" will squeeze out Christian pre-schools (and other faith-based pre-schools), force pre-school and day care costs through the roof, and effectively expand the public school universe to pre-k 3 to grade 12.
The budget included several other large new spending program, and an overall increase of 5.5%, well above the rate of inflation. In a year with a more than half-billion dollar budget surplus, this budget should have looked to return money to taxpaying families rather than draining the surplus and more on profligate spending. Why should
BUT... WAIT! IT'S NOT OVER YET!
While the budget negotiators came to broad agreements, the language of the budget has not been written, and the budget has not been voted on. There is still the possibility that this budget may fail to pass (with the hope of a better product); or that more favorable language can be written to accompany the current budget agreement to use the "Pre-K Counts" funding in a more family-friendly way.
We must take advantage of this last opportunity to influence
1) Call your Pennsylvania State Senator and State Representative and Gov. Rendell's office.
2) Explain your concerns about the budget.
3) Ask them to vote against the current budget agreement unless: "Pre-K Counts" is removed from the budget.
4) Encourage your friends, fellow church members and others to do the same.
Questions? Please email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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