Bud­get trans­fers wouldn’t hurt trans­porta­tion

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - National -

A re­cent Post-Gazette ar­ti­cle ( “Wolf Won’t Trans­fer Money From Tran­sit Trust,” Nov. 9) de­tails Gov. Tom Wolf’s an­nounce­ment con­cern­ing fund trans­fers from the com­mon­wealth’s spe­cial ac­counts. The piece ac­cepts the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s faulty nar­ra­tive that the trans­fers will lead to cuts in gov­ern­ment ser­vices.

This is sim­ply not true. The state’s “shadow bud­get” con­sists of a va­ri­ety of spe­cial funds, which are run­ning sur­pluses to the tune of ap­prox­i­mately $9 bil­lion. After a mod­est $300 mil­lion trans­fer, the shadow bud­get’s cof­fers will con­tinue to over­flow.

The Public Trans­porta­tion Trust Fund alone has a whop­ping $400 mil­lion in re­serve ac­counts — a sum that has ac­crued for at least the past three years. If the en­tire $300 mil­lion were taken from trans­porta­tion, the fund would still have a healthy re­serve. The idea that these funds need to be pro­tected from all trans­fers de­fies logic.

While Mr. Wolf has the au­thor­ity to pro­tect the trans­porta­tion fund sur­plus, there is no fi­nan­cially jus­ti­fi­able rea­son to do so. De­spite this, the ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to push a false nar­ra­tive about fund trans­fers. The gov­er­nor prefers let­ting the money ac­crue in state ac­counts and con­tin­u­ing his charge for tax hikes, which he has cham­pi­oned since tak­ing of­fice.

Un­like the mod­est trans­fers, tax hikes have caused real pain to real peo­ple. The ad­min­is­tra­tion should start fo­cus­ing on pro­tect­ing tax­pay­ers, not over­funded gov­ern­ment pro­grams. SA­MUEL LEACH

Re­search Fel­low Com­mon­wealth Foun­da­tion

Har­ris­burg na­tional dis­grace. The swamp has grown into a gi­ant, stink­ing cesspool,in­fested with cor­po­rate lob­by­ists, Wall Street preda­tors, bil­lion­aire bootlick­ers and rightwing and re­li­gious zealots who are caus­ing ir­repara­ble harm to our great na­tion. They don’t give a damn about any­thing but en­rich­ing them­selves, push­ing their ex­trem­ist agenda, and/or get­ting re-elected, Don­ald Trump­in­cluded.

In­stead of see­ing ac­tion on the real and cru­cial prob­lems fac­ing our na­tion, we’re as­sailed with mo­ronic tweets and ir­rel­e­vant cul­ture war dis­trac­tions. His colos­sal ego­ism and nar­cis­sism, un­fet­tered mouth and crazed be­hav­ior have us on the cusp of war with an­other lu­natic in North Korea, and his most re­cent dis­re­spect of a Gold Star widow and her fam­ily is com­pletely sick­eningand cringe-wor­thy.

Mr. Trump has crossed the line of de­cency so many times the line doesn’t ex­ist any­more. What’s more, ev­ery gut­less Repub­li­can in the House and Senate who stands idly and silently by this harpy pos­ing as pres­i­dent is com­plicit in de­grad­ing our great coun­try. After all, who cares about World War III as long as they get tax cuts for their cor­po­rate cronies and rich donors while they stick it to the poorand mid­dle classes.

I wish godspeed to Robert Mueller in chas­ing this ma­lig­nant cretin from of­fice. JERRY JOHN­STON

But­ler

We elected Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent, but he is be­ing ma­nip­u­lated by the op­po­si­tion and his de­trac­tors by the oldest game in the book, which is that

We wel­come your opin­ion

putting him on de­fense is the best form of at­tack.

He is be­ing ac­cused of be­ing not the pres­i­dent but the goal­keep­er­who has been put into the po­si­tion of de­fense. He is try­ing to please ev­ery­body but is end­ing up sound­ing re­ally con­fused. We hope that he re­al­izes pol­i­tics is not busi­ness and takes charge of what he was elected for. It seems all politi­cians are guilty un­lessproven in­no­cent. BIKRAM KOCHHAR

Penn Hills

Re­gard­ing Pope Fran­cis’ re­cent call for peo­ple to put down their cell phones dur­ing Mass, which he said “is not a show”: I ap­plaud Pope Fran­cis for rightly de­mand­ing that his church’s most sa­cred sacra­ment not be bru­tal­ized by self­ish pa­parazzi and peo­ple who are not there to pray­with the pope. WIL­LIAM NEEDHAM

South Side

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