I must comment on Republican Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s editorial “How to bring prosperity to Pennsylvania in 2018.”
First, let me summarize the “plan” — tax reform, education alignment with business needs, Pa. leadership, regulatory reform and responsible use of taxpayer money, which includes “zero based budgeting and welfare reform.
While it sounds great, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. Republicans have spewed the same rhetoric for years.
Take a look at recent history. During the last budget negotiations, Republicans passed a spending budget higher than the previous budget without a funding plan. For months after, a debate raged, not over spending cuts, but a means to raise revenue. How did it end? They expanded gambling, raised taxes on tobacco and borrowed more than $1 billion.
Was the last budget debacle an example of responsible use of taxpayer money? Did they cut corporate income taxes (highest in the country) to spur economic growth? Will the $100 million increase in education spending align the education system with business needs? Did Republicans identify any programs or agencies to cut from last year’s spending baseline? Were any laws repealed to help alleviate the regulatory burden?
I believe the answer to all of these questions is no.
Will anything change in 2018? If past performance is an indicator of future performance, don’t bet on it.
We should expect far more from the costliest legislature in the country. If current legislators can’t solve the problem, then it’s time for new legislators in 2018.
Terry Kordes, Port Matilda