Causer: Budget Process Frustrating

HARRISBURG - More than 100 days after the July 1 deadline, a state budget bill is finally on the governor's desk, awaiting his signature, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said today. (note: it has since been signed)

"This year's budget process was, by far, the most frustrating I have experienced in my seven years in the state House," Causer said. "A $3.2 billion deficit, along with a governor bent on increasing people's taxes in a recession, made it very difficult to come to an agreement."

While Causer is pleased to see the budget finally getting done, he ultimately voted against the proposal.

"This budget could have been much worse, but it also could have been much better," Causer said. "There are always good points and bad points in every budget, but a major drawback of this spending plan is that it fails to plan for the future.

"I am deeply concerned that Pennsylvanians will be facing significant tax hikes in the next couple years because this budget fails to adequately control state spending," he said.

Causer acknowledged that the $27.8 billion spending plan does represent a decrease in spending compared to last year and it is more than $1 billion less than what the governor originally proposed last February. He is also pleased that House and Senate Republicans were able to get the governor to take his personal income tax hike proposal off the table earlier this summer.

"Many members of both parties were adamantly opposed to any broad-based tax hike in an economic recession," Causer said.

However, the lawmaker also notes the plan drains most all of the state's reserve accounts, such as the Rainy Day Fund and the Health Care Provider Retention Account (HCPRA), as well as taking a portion of money from the tobacco settlement endowment fund. It also relies heavily on federal stimulus funds, which will run out in two years.

"By relying so heavily on one-time revenue sources, we may well be setting ourselves up for bigger problems next year," Causer said. "If the economy doesn't recover quickly and substantially, next year's budget could be even worse than this one."

e-mailed from House Republican Communications

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