RE: Balancing the PA Budget with Gimmicks

Lawmakers have found new opposition to their plan to taked money from other funds to balance the budget. The Executive Director of Renew Growing Greener, Andrew Heath, encouraged the legislature to refrain from using their gimmicks to balance the budget. PennFuture also implored legislators to refrain from using environmental funds from other areas of the budget to balance the General Fund budget:

This ‘junk shot’ at the budget will do more harm than good, neither fixing our budget deficit nor protecting our economy. This desperate measure will come back to haunt them for decades.

Although PennFuture is more worried about protecting handouts for the special interests they represent than fiscal responsibility, their statement does have point. This type of fiscal irresponsibility will not fix the budget deficit or protect our economy. And it may come back to haunt lawmakers.

More importantly, games and gimmicks only kick the can down the road. Just as the recent pension “reform” only serves to increase debt further down the line, so does borrowing from one-time sources to fix long-term imbalances. If we are going to truly fix the budget, we need to cut wasteful spending, not move money around and disguise it as balancing the budget.