Let them eat cake...

The contrast between liberal and conservative ideologies could be no more obvious than in tough economic times. With states struggling to deal with huge deficits there are stark and apparently irreconcilable differences between leaders on how to bridge the gap.

In general Democrats want to raise taxes to cover deficits and Republicans want to shrink the bloated size of government to offset the differences. It seems that common sense should be the rule of the day.

As individuals we too are faced with the same conundrum but have only one choice; we have to reign in our spending and cut “services”. Why then are some of our leaders determined to take an even larger bite out of our already anemic economy? The answer is simple, because we let them. They do not fear the apathetic and short memoried constituency that we have become.

In states all across this great country the same battle is playing out; tax hikes versus spending cuts. In the outcome lays our future as a country. If we are to survive and avoid repeating the lessons of the past we must apply the same fiscal discipline to our government that we are forced to abide by as a populace. You do not spend what you do not have. The tax payers of this country are not an inexhaustible resource and should be treated with respect.

The following are excerpts from various sources detailing the raging battles occurring within our borders. Take note that the states hardest hit are Democrat controlled. Further note what each party is proposing as the solution to the problem then ask yourself this question: Are increased taxes the answer?

Calif., other states face tough budget choices
State lawmakers feel heat as begin new fiscal year without a budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Legislators in more than a half-dozen states, their revenues evaporating in the recession, are frantically working to stave off government shutdowns and devastating service cuts. California failed to meet a midnight deadline and now may need to issue IOUs instead of paying bills.

Across the country, lawmakers are feeling the heat as their legislatures began the new fiscal year without a budget in place.

In Illinois, the sputtering drive to come up with a state budget broke down completely Tuesday, leaving the state without any plan for paying its employees or delivering government services. The session ended without any firm plans to return or even for Gov. Pat Quinn and legislative leaders to resume negotiations.

Governor Pat Quinn Pledges to Veto Partial Budget
Addresses Joint Session of 96th General Assembly;

Calls on Legislators to Rise to the Challenge

SPRINGFIELD – June 30, 2009. In an address to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate, Governor Pat Quinn vowed to veto the General Assembly’s 50 Percent Budget.
“If you send me a partial budget, one that decimates the social fabric of Illinois, I will veto that budget,” said Governor Quinn from the floor of the House.

The proposed Legislature's 50 Percent Budget creates a $9.2 billion dollar funding gap and forces deep and distressing cuts to our vital social service agencies. It will cause great harm to Illinois' most vulnerable people, including children, the elderly and the disabled.
Governor Quinn has proposed a “Tough Choices” Budget that will improve the state’s fiscal health and put Illinois back on the road to economic recovery.

Of course no liberal argument for taxes would be complete without the obligatory reference to class warfare. How about they look at cutting salaries of the state house and governor, maybe stop paying for landscaping and reduce expense accounts. There are plenty of areas to cut that will not result in the “decimation” of the poor, elderly and handicapped. I truly hate this class warfare tactic.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell said Tuesday night he didn’t think an agreement with lawmakers would come soon. The state faces the prospect of not being able to pay state employees if they cannot resolve an impasse.

The end of June marked the end of the fiscal year in many states, meaning lawmakers worked late Tuesday to pass budgets in a year that has seen the recession take a devastating toll on government finances.

Fallout from California’s budget mess threatened to spread nationwide because of the sheer size of the state’s economy. The Senate rejected three bills designed to save $5 billion, including $3.3 billion in education funding cuts that had to be enacted before Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, called Republicans’ refusal to vote for the measures “an irresponsible position to take.” At least two Republican votes were needed to put together the two-thirds majorities required to approve the legislation, which passed the Assembly last week with bipartisan support.

California, as with other liberal states, sees no alternative except to raise taxes. California voters have overwhelmingly rejected that notion. Time for the California legislator to stop trying to find ways to circumvent voter will and start cutting their bloated social programs.

Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut and Mississippi also were among the other states that raced against the clock to pass budgets — and avoid crippling consequences.
Faced with a budget stalemate, the Ohio House voted in favor of a seven-day spending plan that will allow the state to keep operating while budget talks continue, the first temporary budget Ohio has been forced to approve in 18 years.

Indiana narrowly averted a large-scale government shutdown after coming to terms on a budget.

Strickland signs interim budget
Business Courier of Cincinnati

Strickland said in a statement Tuesday that he has “no other option but to sign a temporary budget that only delays the inevitable hard choices before us.” He also renewed a call for Senate Republicans, the majority in that chamber, to propose alternatives to a plan to raise nearly $1 billion over two years by installing the video slot machines.

Senate Republicans have refused to back Strickland’s proposal without voter approval, saying the governor should exercise his authority to make the move. Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, has said he can’t justify “asking the General Assembly to circumvent their (voters’) will in such a short time frame when there has been no formal public debate and there are so many questions left unanswered.”

Strickland’s slot-machine plan was one piece of several moves he outlined to plug a projected $3.2 billion budget deficit in the next two-year cycle, but Harris has said it’s the only issue standing in the way of passing the budget.

Try trimming the fat from the budget. Why is there never any mention of shrinking the size, and thereby the cost, of government. These guys are so myopic in their view of government spending that they never even consider cuts as an alternative.

In Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed an executive order to keep the government running without a two-year budget in place. While she contends the average taxpayer won’t notice any change, municipal officials fear delays in state grants that fund everything from road repairs to education.

No budget deal as Conn. fiscal year ends
By SUSAN HAIGH Associated Press Writer
Updated: 06/30/2009 08:36:56 PM EDT

The Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly have been at odds for months over how to cover the deficit. Rell has maintained that no tax increases are needed, while the Democrats have proposed higher taxes for the wealthy and corporations.

It is the same old song and dance; we spent beyond our means and now you have to pay for it. You would think that reducing the size of government was equivalent to treason. When will our leaders realize that government is of the people, by the people and for the people; not to fleece the people?

In Arizona, House lawmakers approved nine bills late Tuesday to implement most of a compromise budget negotiated with Gov. Jan Brewer. But they omitted two controversial tax proposals, including a sales tax increase that Brewer has insisted on. The Senate followed by giving the same Republican-drafted bills preliminary approval.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Legislature has completed action on budget bills to implement most of a compromise $8.4 billion budget negotiated with Gov. Jan Brewer. However, lawmakers omitted a sales tax increase that Brewer wants to help reduce spending cuts.

In Pennsylvania, state workers will receive only partial pay on July 17 and July 24, after which paychecks will be withheld entirely until the impasse is solved. They will then be paid retroactively.

Gov. Ed Rendell said 10 banks and credit unions have agreed to help 69,000 state employees by offering them low- or no-interest loans and lines of credit.
Both Sides Trade Barbs Over Pa. Budget

by KYW's Tony Romeo

Pennsylvania on Wednesday begins the first of what may be many days of the new fiscal year without a budget.

Republicans and Democrats, deeply divided over Governor Rendell’s proposal to raise the income tax, spent much of the last day of the old fiscal year posturing.

For example, the argument continued over the governor’s contention that spending cuts proposed by Republicans would force the layoff of up to 800 state troopers.

At a Senate hearing, Lt. Colonel Jon Kurtz said a cut in state police money from the general fund would trigger a cut in the dollars state police get from the motor license fund:

“Cutting $16,285,000 from the general fund means to us that we stand to occur an additional cut of $42,409,000.”

But Republicans, including Senate GOP Leader Dominic Pileggi of Chester, say the layoffs are not necessary:

“The governor and his administration have engaged in a coordinated, widespread and deliberate effort to generate misleading spin.”

Pileggi reiterated his belief that the budget standoff could be a lengthy one.

In most states, the debate centers around whether states should be raising taxes to bridge the budget gaps. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he wouldn’t sign anything that raised taxes or fees beyond what he has already proposed.

“They should forget about that,” the Republican governor said, accusing Democrats of going through a “song and dance. Let’s get to work, fix it.”

It’s a shame that Schwarzenegger turns out to be the voice of reason in the mess that is California. He is right however, they should stop trying thwart the will of the people and start listening to the will of the people.

State Controller John Chiang has said he would have to start issuing the IOUs on Thursday unless lawmakers took steps to stem the state’s red ink by then.

Roughly $3 billion worth of IOUs will be issued in July unless a compromise on closing the deficit is reached quickly. They will be sent to state contractors, college students, welfare recipients, low-income seniors, the disabled and others who depend on or deliver state services. Counties will not get paid for social programs they administer.

Remember that as each of these states tries to close their respective budget deficit with taxes the federal government is doing the same. It becomes an accumulative effect of taxes upon taxes when each and every one of us is already burdened by this recession. If we are required to cut out budgets and make the hard choices why then must we give our government a free pass. They should be bound by the same rules that apply to the general populace.


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