Rendell’s Strange View of Pain Sharing

In a recent comment on budget negotiations the Governor said, "We can’t get this budget resolved without everyone feeling some pain." What a preposterous statement. With his plans to increase or maintain spending on some items, how can it be that he expects everyone to share in the budget pain? Only in the mind of the overly zealous can an increase in spending be viewed as pain. Their ludicrous argument? The increase is less than we wanted.

Unlike other states where the governments have actually made real cuts in overall spending to reflect the revenue shortfall they face, Pennsylvania’s Governor wants to raise spending from last year’s budgeted level with significant boosts in education.

Share the pain? There is no indication teachers will lose any pay raises or benefits and, in the vast majority of districts across the state, no jobs are at risk. Asking recipients of a very big fraction of state and local spending to help by forgoing this year’s raise would have been a reasonable request. But the Governor’s and most legislators’ loyalty to-or fear of-the teacher unions have taken such a common sense notion off the table.

As a result we see the remarkable stance of a Governor wanting to raise taxes in an economy gripped by recession-tax increases that will be with us for a long time with their attendant damage to growth-in order to boost spending from last year’s level. Now that is chutzpah of the highest order. The state deserves better from its leaders.