Real Men Cut Spending

States all across the nation are facing financial troubles. California is nearing bankruptcy, New York may have to “shut down” their State government if the Legislature doesn’t pass a budget soon & Pennsylvania faces a $1.7 billion budget deficit.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell told Legislators to “man up” and pass a series of tax hikes. According to the Tribune-Review these tax hikes include, “new taxes on natural gas extraction and cigars and smokeless tobacco. He wants to eliminate a loophole that gives companies a 1 percent discount for remitting sales tax to the state early, since computers have reduced a once-tedious accounting task to a few keystrokes and wire transfer, (expected to) generate more than $300 million… Another $320 million could come from increasing vehicle registration and driver’s license fees to keep up with inflation. That money would help make up for $417 million in transportation funding the state hoped to generate by placing tolls on Interstate 80, an idea the federal government rejected.”
According to Mr. Rendell it takes a “man” to raise taxes, saying, “Not one incumbent who voted for (the 2003 income tax hike) lost. I was (re-)elected (in 2006) by a margin of almost 22 percent, probably the largest (margin) in modern history in Pennsylvania. So, man up.” I’d like to know how he defines ”man.” I and many others, especially libertarians and conservatives, think it’s responsible to live within your means; that requires spending cuts, especially on wasteful/unconstitutional spending.
Tom Mullen writes,”While there are probably thousands of different services that governments spend money on, they can generally be divided into three broad categories: security, public services, and wealth redistribution. Libertarians (those who advocate limited government) argue that the only legitimate government spending is on security. (There are also many libertarians who advocate a completely stateless society, with even security functions provided by private firms in a free market.) Conservatives generally approve of security and some public services with their rhetoric while engaging in all three types of spending when in public office. Liberals generally endorse all three types of spending with both their rhetoric and their actions while in public office.”
Last year The Commonwealth Foundation (an independent, non-profit research and educational institute that develops and advances public policies based on the nation’s founding principles of limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility) identified “$4.94 billion in spending cuts—$1.41 billion from the state General Fund Budget, $2.11 billion from other operating funds, and $1.41 billion from the capital budget and off-budget programs.” Concluding, “Harrisburg policymakers need to reprioritize spending and cut waste from state government to avoid a tax increase on working Pennsylvanians and job creators. In short, they need to put Pennsylvania government on a diet and back on a path to fiscal and economic health.”
However, those in charge of spending in Pennsylvania would rather increase taxes (and spending) instead of making the tough decision to force the Commonwealth to live within its means, unfortunately for taxpayers across the country, Pennsylvania is not the exception.