Our opinion: State rarely looks to cut budget

State Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Hepburn Township, is right.

Our state government spends too much money. And, for all that money spent, its agencies are still too frequently unresponsive to the needs of constituents.

Hamm convincingly supported these arguments with hard numbers.

The state Secretary of Human Services has recently acknowledged widespread fraud in assistance programs — in some cases as high as 40% of money paid out is paid out fraudulently. The excruciatingly slow pace of state agencies in deciding on permits cost Pennsylvania $2 billion in job-creating investments in 2022 alone.

The proposed 2023-24 budget, which spends about $1.6 billion more than the previous year’s budget, is projected to rely on two revenue sources that don’t actually exist — taxes on marijuana, which is still illegal and untaxed, and taxes, fees and fines connected to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, for which Pennsylvania’s participation is under challenge in courts.

Rep. Hamm is right that this is unsustainable. And for what the taxpayers have been paying, they should expect a more efficient and quicker permitting process and more disciplined oversight of where the money is going.

We hope Rep. Hamm and our region’s other lawmakers are successful in their endeavors to reform our state government. Pennsylvanians deserve a government that taxes and spends less. They certainly deserve a government that is more efficient and less wasteful and plodding in addressing the needs of employers and working families.


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