Carving up the budget deficit: do not try it at home.

Posted by By at 15 November, at 18 : 13 PM Print

Governor-elect Tom Corbett’s best case deficit scenario coming in to office is $3 billion — some estimates put the tab closer to $5 billion.

A big number, no matter how it is sliced and diced; Corbett could sure use some voodoo economics to balance Pennsylvania’s budget because its hard to conceive how he can cut or trim his way to a balanced budget.

Especially since, he has taken a solemn pledge not to raise taxes and avows one of the easiest paths to generating some new cash for the Commonwealth; a severance tax on Shale Gas.

At a news conference in Harrisburg, last week, Corbett said, “I remain confident I can do it,” with a big grin of confidence. “I think there is money to be saved across the board.”

Corbett says state employees are filling his head with ways to save a long list of agencies money. He has stated that he will push to get rid of money that goes straight in to the pork barrel. Some $100 million a year goes to WAMS, affectionately known as “walking around money.” Lawmakers tie it to every proposed bill they can get their hands around; pet projects are always irresistible.

Corbett intends to introduce a reform package during his first week in office; a plan that will likely include selling off state owned liquor stores, land, and perhaps even the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Corbett says his “Number 1 priority is to get a responsible, balanced, and reduced budget.”

It may become his only priority starting on January 18th, the day he is sworn in to office. Because, even though Republicans will control both the House and Senate stomaching this much reform that quickly is not for the feint of heart — even among some Republicans.

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