We have a fiscal crisis here in Pennsylvania. Our state budget was going to be unbalanced until a lateral arabesque done to the tune of Peter and the Wolf descended from on high. The budget has been a battleground between our Governor, a Republican, and the legislature which is controlled by Republicans. The cuts have been awful. One time revenues have been used to plug holes, and the fight between the aforementioned groups continues.
The Governor took ten days (the legal limit) to sign the budget document presented to him by the legislature but did a really strange thing. The governor blamed his Republican colleagues for not including a pension reform plan in the new budget. He was so mad that he deducted about 70 million dollars from the legislator’s coffers (both D’s and R’s) and infuriated both houses and both parties.
There is now some thought that the legislature will override his blue lining (Presidents can’t do a line item veto).They would need 2/3 of both houses. That means that Democrats would have to vote with them. There is scuttlebutt that they already have those votes. This is getting to be very disturbing.
Education did very poorly in the budget. The administration claimed that it gave a bunch of dough to schools, but it was takeaway from one pot and give to another. Pension contributions ballooned to over a billion dollars. Funny, when you look at how this happened over the years, you will see a startling trend of underfunding, especially during the halcyon years of the market. No one read the Old Testament about Joseph and the lean years and the fat years. We are now paying for not saving for the lean years.
So, why this background noise? I walked into the capitol building the other day and was in my own Senator’s office. A staff member pointed her cell phone into my face and told me to look at “this.” It was a picture of the paintings in the hallway of a former President Pro Temp. of the Senate with a plaque underneath that was different from other Senators. This not only had his name and his years of service, but had a recounting of him going to jail.
It was also true of 3 former Speakers of the House, whose portraits all had new plaques. There had been some talk of taking down the portraits. It appears that this was the compromise. It was done by the current President Pro Temp. and the Speaker of the House. My feeling is that we have so many problems in our Commonwealth, that this is not a concern of most people. If people in the legislature feel that these people are not worthy of having their portraits hung in the Capitol, just take the darned things down. We have so many other things to attend to.


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