For the first time in a while the Governor (Ed Rendell) and the state legislature agreed on a budget for the Commonwealth before the deadline of July 1st. Both sides got some of want they wanted with Rapid Edward and the Democrats getting more money for education and an obscene amount of borrowing for a long wish list and the Republicans can point out the plan doesn't have any tax increases.
This item irks me: $800 million from slot-machine revenues for dams and water and sewer facilities. We were told that tax revenue from the slots would be used to lower school property taxes with some allowance to offset the local costs of hosting the casinos. Now with this new pool of new money every politician and others can't resist the temptation to spend it on something else. Some people with a history of getting local governments to finance their ventures are even proposing to use $250 million of slots money to guarantee a bond issue to build a cargo airport near Hazleton that no shipping company will commit to using.
Thanks to Capitol Ideas for his heroic coverage of the budget negotiations over the weekend. It probably involved too much stale coffee, fast food and antacids.
6 hours ago