Gov. Ed Rendell is at it again, lobbying the federal government for “Stimulus 4” (following the 2008 Bush stimulus, the 2009 Obama stimulus, and the 2010 “jobs bill”) demanding another bailout of states with more Medicaid funds, education funds, and an extension on unemployment benefits.
Rendell encourages the federal government to once again reward states for spending more than their budgets allow, and give him money to spend without having to raise taxes or cut spending (though Pennsylvania taxpayers will still be on the hook for ballooning federal deficits). Pennsylvania’s budget is not the only one relying on money – $850 million – to balance the 2010-11 fiscal year. Ohio, New York, Michigan, and California also dangerously bank on new federal funds that were only to be temporarily provided by the stimulus.
Governor Rendell claims that if federal bill HR 4213, extending higher Medicaid reimbursements through June 2011 is not passed, 20,000 Pennsylvania state workers will lose their jobs. Yet since the beginning of the recession, the private sector has lost more than 281,000 jobs, while Pennsylvania state government has grown by 5,000 jobs. How many of Rendell’s “threatened” jobs have been added in the same period that private sector jobs have dropped considerably?
“Crucial” education money is included in this bill, also to be paid for by all American taxpayers. Pennsylvania could receive $900 million for education spending, ostensibly to keep 300,000 teachers employed. Sens. Casey and Specter are all on board with this bill, which has many obstacles in the Senate, and would move us ever closer to making the “stimulus” and bailouts for the states permanent.