Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mazal tov to Mike Masch

The say you can take the boy out of pennsylvania but you can't take the perverse interest in Harrisburg political fights out of the boy (or post-gender labeling child for that matter).

June brings mighty budget fights to the great commonwealth of pennsylvania. Those bouts have grown more intense since the governor and house became divided by party. the gorvenor is a wonderful guy you may have heard of, Ed Rendell. He has been a nationally known figure since he helped pull Philadelphia out of bankruptcy in his first term as mayor. The house is run by a mix of republicans some of whom are willing to work with Rendell and some of whom would rather go large game hunting without rifles.

One of the major players in the budget process over the last several years, perhaps the most important, is a fantastic fellow named mike masch*, the secretary of budget and also for a while the sec. of administration as well. Mike was able to get a very good budget through or so I read:

Negotiators have reached an agreement on a 2006-07 state budget that contains nearly all of Gov. Ed Rendell's top spending requests, cuts business taxes and increases spending by more than 6 percent.

The $26 billion deal was hammered out in closed-door negotiations Tuesday and yesterday. Aided by a strong tax revenue surplus and wounded Republican legislative majorities anxious not to open the new fiscal year without a budget, the deal came together quickly..


Michael Masch, Rendell's budget secretary, cautioned that important details were still being worked out last night.


"It's in good shape," said Brian Preski, chief of staff to House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia.

"I think it meets the social needs of the state, the educational needs of the state, and there's tax cuts," said Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow, D-Lackawanna. "So I think it's a very good budget."

Some highlights can be found in the actual story. Click here to read more.

*in the interst of full disclosure: i used to work for mike when he was a philadelphia school board member. he is a member of the minyan i grew up in. in fact, he may be the highest ranking US politician who could give a different niggun every second for several minutes. he is a great shaliach tzibur.


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