It appears that some elements in the Republican Party of Pennsylvania have one and only one goal – to not raise taxes.
It doesn’t matter if spending in our classrooms, and especially in the classrooms in our lowest income communities, have not recovered from the Corbett cuts of 2011-12; they won’t raise taxes.
It doesn’t matter if waiting lists for mental health and intellectual disability services grow; they won’t raise taxes.
It doesn’t matter if tuition keeps rising for our colleges and universities.
It doesn’t matter if the budget is “balanced” with smoke and mirrors; they won’t raise taxes.
It doesn’t matter if the ratings agencies can see through the smoke and mirrors and plan to downgrade our credit again; they won’t raise taxes.
And now that all the special funds have been raided, all the bills have been put off to the following year, and all the tricks and gimmicks have been used, and we find ourselves facing a fiscal cliff of almost $2 billion dollars; they still won’t raise taxes.
Suspended as they are, in mid-air over Pennsylvania’s fiscal cliff, they have to do, or at least say, something. And so they say we must balance the budget by cutting it, starting with waste, fraud, and abuse.
If that is their position, then it is time, as we used to say on the playgrounds of my youth, for them to put up or shut up
It’s time for them to Name The Cuts.
Name the line items you are going to cut.
Name the $1.8 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse to be found.
If you can’t do that – and no one who is both knowledgeable and honest will say that there is anywhere close to $1.8 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse in the current budget – tell us what programs you will reduce and eliminate.
Don’t tell us about “across the board cuts.” That’s just one more way to duck responsibility for the consequences of your inaction. Name them.
Name the cuts in programs that serve seniors needed to balance the budget
Name the cuts in school funding needed to balance the budget
Name the cuts in programs that serve those with mental illnesses needed to balance the budget.
Name the cuts in programs that serve those with intellectual disabilities needed to balance the budget.
Name the cuts in higher education funding or financial aid to students needed to balance the budget.
Stop the games. Stop the dissembling. Stop the pretense.
Name the cuts. If you really think we can balance this budget just with cuts, without devastating education and human services in Pennsylvania, show us how.
And if you can’t, then let’s start talking about how to raise taxes fairly.