It Is Possible to Make Cuts to the Budget

With the 2010-11 proposed budget in shambles the Governor continues to reiterate the myth that his hands are tied and that 80% of the budget is mandated spending. He went so far as to criticize those who propose cuts saying, “Anyone who thinks it’s possible to make cuts to the budget doesn’t know what they are talking about.”

The situation sounds desperate, but in reality the government is up to it’s ears in making special interest loans and grants to businesses for things like light bulbs and heating systems. Clearly not a core function of government, but a politically popular one. In just the past month the commonwealth has announced millions in handouts investments.

  • The Commonwealth spent $8 million on 20 projects that will advance the alternative fuels industry in the state. Since Governor Rendell expanded the AFIG program in 2004, it has awarded $31 million.
  • Handed out $2 million for small businesses to subsidize energy projects like HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units that help large trucks reduce time spent with idling engines.
  • Beautification of State Capitol Grounds for $9 million.
  • Pennsylvania allocated $5 million to six alternative energy projects including three geothermal system installations, two biofuel projects, and one study that will examine ways to reduce consumption by up to 90% in Pittsburgh.
  • Fancy Newsletters
  • $3.7 million in grants to help Senior Centers “revolutionize” nutrition services, aka subsidizing an Internet CafĂ© in Fayette County. But this is my favorite part, “The department expects that the preferences of baby boomers will be markedly different than those of today’s seniors.”
  • And over $35 million (over multiple years) for M. Night Shyamalan’s latest production, The Last Airbender received via film tax credits.

Rest assured Governor, there are plenty of places to cut spending. See my commentary for 10 ways to balance the budget without increasing taxes.