But a deeper look at the spending plan shows how serious the fiscal crisis is in Pennsylvania and how little Rendell and the Legislature have done to address major issues facing residents.
"If nothing else, the budget plan was a wake-up call that some radical thinking is needed in Harrisburg," The Pottstown Mercury says in an editorial.
Whether some of Rendell's surprise announcements such as reducing the number of school districts in Pennsylvania from 500 to 100 is a diversionary tactic, as some Republicans lawmakers have charged, the business-as-usual attitude of the professional politicians in Harrisburg simply won't do anymore.
From The Mercury editorial:
When the dust settles around the more radical aspects of the plan unveiled last week, what remains is the hard, cold reality that taxpayers are struggling and business cannot go on as usual in Harrisburg.Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.
Many programs will have to be cut -- some of them sacred to lawmakers. Others will have to be reduced no matter how popular they are are. Geographic loyalties, sacred programs, and surplus funds that give legislators "walking around money" to maintain their popularity in their districts are luxuries that Pennsylvania can no longer afford.
Rendell's budget plan may not survive as a blueprint for spending, but the spirit of re-examining every part of government once held sacred is the message that state legislators can not afford to ignore.
If they do, the taxpayers will be left out in the cold, and the consequences may come to roost at the polls some chilly November day.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS