Budget Hearings a Taxpayer-Funded Sham?

The Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee is holding hearings on the vesion of the state budget passed by the Senate (see here for more on that) today and tomorrow.

Yet today chairman Dwight Evans – who called the hearings – tells the Post-Gazette they have “no plans of approving the $27.3 billion budget proposal.”  Then why hold the hearings?  Every time they hold one of these charades, taxpayer have to pay for lawmakers per diems and travel costs – perhaps not the best idea facing a $3 billion deficit, and at the same time as proposing tax increases.

And as to those tax increases, Rep. Joe Markosek says the legislature should pass them now.  Why?  Because tax hike are (obviously) unpopular with voters, and lawmakers don’t want to raise taxes in an election year – because staying in power, not good public policy, is the guiding principle.