Monday, June 04, 2007

Not Hockey: I can't take it anymore...

I think I know why writing is therapeutic. I saw two things over the weekend that made me want to scream. Then I thought about how this is the off season, and a little entertainment isn't a bad thing, so let me highlight two things that I think are Too Stupid To Be True (but they are):

1. A woman protesting the fact that her child wasn't able to attend her high school graduation ceremonies because her child had failed to pass the state standardized tests. Not unusual, right? Just take a look at the photo. If you don't get it, please beg your high school to rescind your diploma.

2. Here in beautiful Pennsylvania, our glorious leaders in the State House and Senate are debating the new budget. It has to be completed by June 30th. There was an article in the Post-Gazette over the weekend about the time pressure, and that Gov. Rendell is (amazingly*) pushing for a spending increase this year. In order to pay for the increase, the Governor wants to raise taxes (again) by increasing the sales tax and taxing the profits of those evil oil companies. That's not the good part. The House passed the budget, but balked at the tax increase. The Democrats (who are in the majority - that's how this managed to pass at all) want to pay for the increased spending out of the state's "rainy day" fund (think emergency fund). To break it down for you:
  1. There is an increase in spending of about $1.2 billion dollars
  2. According to the Democrat's plan, $500 million will come from an ANTICIPATED windfall
  3. $400 million from the emergency fund
  4. $300 million from "additional revenue possible from a continued growth in sales and income tax revenues projected over the next 12 months"
So, they're going to lower the emergency fund and increase spending with money they don't have yet? Does this strike anyone else as one of the dumber things they've heard recently?

The Republicans in the House have basically said that this is dumb. I agree with them. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Senate.

I'm not a big fan of Rendell, but at least he is reasonable about how to pay for this - he wants to spend more, so he raises revenue by raising taxes. The House Democrats are playing a shell game.

* there may be some slight amount of sarcasm in this adverb - Rendell has increased spending about 5 - 6% every year he's been in office

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