Scare Tactics in the Budget

John Baer writes – albeit a bit late – on how politicians use scare tactics, i.e. the “Washington Monument Ploy” to drive up spending and justify tax hikes, such as the Philadelphia sales tax increase and the myriad of state tax hikes, then take credit for being heroes.

No higher taxes in Pennsylvania? Then public education ceases to exist, State Police stop functioning and state parks get sold to private developers.

Some threats were similar: Mayor Nutter said he’d lay off 739 police officers; Gov. Rendell said 800 state troopers would go.

It’s the politics of panic. It plays to peoples’ fears and politicians’ advantage. Predict the worst then save the day. …

Rarely do those in power start such tactics by opening up the guts of government and excising their own. As in, things are so bad we have to cancel our consultant contracts, do away with private lobbyists, stop hiring outside lawyers when our staffs are full of them, cut salaries and perks, stop funding lawmakers’ pet projects and reduce the largest legislative staff in America by 10 to 20 percent.

This is exactly why it is so disappointing that Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to drag their feet on spending transparency.