Saturday, October 10, 2009

War is over!!!!

Congrats to our state Legislature for passing the budget! Pay raises and Pink Pigs for EVERYONE!! Thank you, state legislators, for performing your state-mandated duty 101 days late. If I did my job as poorly as all of you did yours, I'd lose my job... Oh wait!


  1. It really speaks volumes about the problems with leadership in Harrisburg......

  2. The problem is, how do you blame any single representative or senator for this mess? There are so many of them, it's tough to point the finger. I spoke with my rep, Nick Kotik, on Friday and he explained the situation to me. I called him twice before to complain about the budget, but how do I blame him directly when he's just another brick in the wall? Like you said, there is no leadership.

    As Roger and I discussed earlier, they need to shrink the size of the Legislature so there is actual accountability.

  3. I had a very similar conversation with a very good friend of mine. I'll ask you the same question I asked him.

    Put yourself in my shoes. It's June 30, and the Commonwealth of PA loses the legal authority to spend money within 24 hours (there is no actual law that says the budget must be done by June 30).

    You have a governor with an approval rating in the mid-20s in the southwest and the high-60s in the southeast, who has stated repeatedly that he will not sign any budget that does not provide over $1 billion in recurring revenues, including a $300 million increase in education funding.

    Meanwhile, you have a very conservative opposition Senate who has made it clear that they are fundamentally opposed to any new spending, and wants to bridge a $3.2 billion deficit with draconian spending cuts that will almost certainly lead to dramatic increases in local taxes.

    As a rank and file member of the House Democratic caucus holding a razor-thin two seat majority, you have to balance the fiscally conservative "Blue Dogs" from the Southwest with the pro-environment "Green Dogs" from the Southeast.

    All the while, the media is pounding your institution for everything under the sun in the newspapers and on talk radio, with lots of complaints but no tangible solutions.

    With the benefit of 101 days of hindsight, please tell me what you would have done differently.

  4. Thanks for chiming in, Jesse. You have a better perspective on this issue than any of us.

    But your own comment explains the problem with our bloated state Legislature. You basically say, "What was I supposed to do about it?" The size of the Legislature allows each and every one of you - 253 elected representatives - to hide behind that shield It's the other guy's fault, right?

    This situation illustrates more than anything that the House and Senate should be downsized. I realize there are major problems with revenue streams this year, but 49 other states managed to solve their problems within a reasonable amount of time.

    So I want an explanation why you think a Legislature with 253 people can do a better job than a state like West Virginia, which has a part-time Legislature. In the age of e-mail and cell phones, you can represent more people than ever. It's time for action, Jesse, and I challenge you to lead that fight.

  5. All jobs have their difficulties, Jesse. Surely, there were obstacles, and I understand your point of view. And I'm sure you realized you'd be in newspapers when you ran. It's tough out there for everyone.

    And Jimmity -- I agree. And Jesse, I second that challenge.

  6. Here's what you do when faced with the challenges Jesse described: you negotiate with the other side instead of pontificating. If it got done in October, it clearly was possible for it to get done in May. But we instead had to go through 101 days of posing and posturing. Maybe next year, the good folks in Harrisburg should start talking about budget priorities a bit earlier, like before the deadline has passed.