Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Groundhog Day: PA Budget Version

Please note this from a Capitol Ideas post earlier today on the state budget fiasco:

The Inquirer eulogizes a long-sought levy on the sale of stogies and chaw this morning, reminding us that Pennsylvania is one of the few states not to collect an excise tax on products beloved Fat-cat by fat-cats and truck drivers alike.

The levy would have generated $38 million in new tax revenue this year -- nothing to sneeze at when you consider lawmakers are trying every trick in the book to raise money and close a $3.25 billion deficit. So how did it die? Johnna Pro, a spokeswoman to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, has a thoroughly tongue-in-cheek explanation:

"Because the majority of people negotiating the budget are cigar-chomping men," she said. "It's sexism."

Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said leaders dropped the cigar and smokeless-tobacco tax because of its minimal effect on closing the budget deficit, the Inky reported.

"The amount which would be raised . . . is so relatively small that it is immaterial to producing a balanced budget," Arneson said.

I have not the words.

CI's tweets indicate that legislators are still in a closed door meeting on the budget. If it goes past midnight do they all turn into pumpkins?

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