Posts Tagged GOP

Best of Times, Worst of Times


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . . ”  So begins Charles Dickens’s novel A Tale of Two Cities.  It is set in in the years prior to the French revolution, but actually applies to the recent performance of Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature.

As official Harrisburg prepares for what is shaping up to be another epic budget battle, the big question is: which GOP will show up in 2017?  Will it be the Republican-controlled legislature that last year stood its ground and fought Governor Tom Wolf’s historic tax and spending proposals, or will it be the GOP that this year folded like a cheap suit and approved $1.4 billion in new spending?

The $1.4 billion spending hike might not qualify as the worst of times, but coming on the heels of a successful struggle against the Wolf Administration’s spending demands it did leave a lot of folks puzzled.  After winning the longest budget fight in state history, why turn around and cave in months later? This leaves most observers – and quite a few participants – at a loss when it comes to predicting how the 2017 budget war will unfold.

We are certain of a few things.

The toxic stew of tax increases and new taxes cooked up to pay for this year’s massive spending increase has failed to live up to expectations.  To date, revenue collections for the 2017-2018 fiscal year are running $261.8 million below estimates.  This, coupled with a “structural budget deficit” pegged at over a billion dollars means the new budget will begin with a significant gap between spending and revenue.

We also can be sure that Governor Wolf will again demand massive spending increases and the taxes to pay for that spending.  He used his budget address this year to lecture the General Assembly for its refusal to accede to his spending demands.  Since most of his priorities have not been funded chances are they will be dusted off and included in his new budget proposal.

But should Republicans sit back and wait for the governor to set the agenda?  Leo Knepper of the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, a pro-growth PAC, suggests a different course of action.  “If Republicans in the General Assembly were smart, they would upend a long-standing budget tradition and go on offense,” Knepper wrote in a recent policy brief.  “(They) should ignore tradition and pre-empt the Governor’s budget address with a plan of their own.”  Knepper observed this would “force the governor to play defense rather than the usual offensive position granted to governors.”

The question remains, however, whether or not legislative Republicans – or at least the leaders who actually sit at the negotiating table – want to go on offense.  Will the resolute leaders who fought and won the first budget battle show up to play, or the ones who forfeited this year’s game?

The final certainty is that all this will play out against the backdrop of the rapidly approaching 2018 election for Governor.  For his part, Governor Wolf will want to deliver the goods of higher spending to his largely urban constituency.

It won’t be so simple for Republicans.

With a number of legislators, including leaders who will negotiate the new budget, eyeing a race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, the upcoming budget battle is fraught with peril.  There are pressures for leaders to “be responsible” and give into spending demands.  But with a veto proof Senate majority and a historically large majority in the House, voters are not likely to be either understanding or forgiving if the GOP doesn’t stand firm.

Will it be the “best of times” with legislative Republicans going on offense and standing up to a tax and spend governor, or will it be the “worst of times” with the taxpayers of Penn’s Woods getting stuck with yet another round of tax hikes?  As the budget process begins a new cycle it is impossible to tell which of the GOP’s split personalities will emerge dominant in 2017, but both the pocketbooks of taxpayers and the political fortunes of many politicians will be affected by the outcome.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Cleaning Up the Chesapeake Bay


Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 10, 2016 – December 16, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Dominic Bassani from the Coalition for Affordable Bay Solutions about cost effective policies to clean up the Chesapeake Bay
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on financial challenges at the state’s symphony orchestras
  • Anna McCauslin has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on things to be thankful for as 2016 draws to a close

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Robert Graboyes from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University on why states should focus on health care delivery, not insurance
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on how congress can repeal and replace Obamacare
  • Eric Boehm of Reason magazine says future President Trump will control the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the death of Fidel Castro

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Labor Bosses Lose Big


Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 3, 2016 – December 9, 2017

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Matthew Brouillette from the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs and Neal Lesher from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA have a Capitol Watch look at labor union losses in this year’s elections
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the latest state budget skirmish

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Phil Kerpen of American Commitment about how the GOP will go about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act
  • Dough Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Louisiana
  • Eric Boehm of Reason magazine talks with Collin Roth from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty about occupational licensing reforms
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the Trump transition process

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Public Sector Labor Climate


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 26, 2016 – December 2, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Elizabeth Stelle of the Commonwealth Foundation about their new report on Pennsylvania’s public sector labor climate
  • Joe Geiger from the First Nonprofit Foundation has Risa Paskoff of Aaron’s Acres in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Beth Anne Mumford from Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on Pennsylvania’s Economic Freedom Partners

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Brittany Hughes producer of the Media Research Center’s new film Collateral Damage: Forgotten Casualties of the Left’s War on Coal
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on issues that will dominate the first 100 days of the Trump Administration
  • Eric Boehm of Reason Magazine talks with Christina Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute about Chicago’s attempt to regulate AirBNB
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on illogical government

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Challenges Facing Governor Wolf


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 19, 2016 – November 25, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • David Taylor of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and Matt Brouillette from the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs have a Capitol Watch look at challenges facing Governor Tom Wolf
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on election winners and losers who were not on the ballot

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with John Philip Sousa, IV of the 2016 Committee about how Donald Trump won a larger percentage of minority votes
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on possible return of congressional earmarks
  • Eric Boehm of Reason magazine takes a look at Republican dominance of state legislatures
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College reflects on the real meaning of Thanksgiving on his American Radio Journal commentary

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Leo Knepper has Election Results on Lincoln Radio Journal


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 12, 2016 – November 18, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with Leo Knepper from the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania examining General Election results
  • Dr. Jake Haulk and Eric Montarti have an Allegheny Institute Report on why the lack of job creation is creating a state revenue shortfall
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the upcoming lame duck session of congress

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with John Gizzi of Newsmax about the impact of the presidential election on the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the policy agenda for the first 100 days of the Trump Administration
  • Eric Boehm of Reason magazine and Matt Kittle of Wisconsin Watchdog discuss how Wisconsin and Pennsylvania put Donald Trump into the White House
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on why Trump won

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on American Radio Journal: Sally Pipes Talks ACA Death Spiral on American Radio Journal


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 5, 2016 – November 11, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • David Taylor from the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs have a Capitol Watch look at what did and did not get done before the end of the General Assembly session
    Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why elements of the tax code foster job creation

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute about premium hikes under the Affordable Care Act
  • Andy Roth from the Club for Growth has the Real Story on unfinished business awaiting the return of congress
  • Eric Boehm of Reason magazine takes a look at early childhood education programs
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on the Veterans Administration

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment