The CDT (12/15) has noted the state budget deficit, once again, and the legislature’s selfish and short-sighted solutions, most of which include taking advantage of the neediest citizens by cutting or outsourcing social services, as well as a failure to raise, or even consider raising, income or sales taxes.
This from a bloated state legislature with 203 representatives, receiving more than $85,000 per year. Other than New Hampshire, which has 400 representatives who receive just $200 per session, no state has more than 160 legislative representatives. Yet, there is no effort made to reduce state spending on contracting the size or pay of the legislature.
The mythology of poor people sucking off working people’s money is belied by the fact that many of the poor have to work two, or even three, jobs just to get by and the state should be aiding them, not thwarting their efforts. An increase in the state income tax rate of 3.07 percent, the lowest for all states with one tax bracket, would raise needed revenue and not excessively harm the commonwealth’s citizens. Few ask for a tax increase, but many ask for basic state services to be maintained or increased. It benefits the entire commonwealth to raise revenue and not cut services.
If cuts need to be made, the legislature should start with their own house, literally.
Murry Nelson, State College