FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Like most everywhere else, in Pennsylvania - times are tough. But you wouldn't necessarily know it by looking at parts of the state's new $28 billion budget.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/08/art.specter.murtha.jpg caption="FILE PHOTOS: Arlen Specter (l) and John Murtha (r)"]
Governor Ed Rendell is planning to borrow $20 million dollars to pay for new public buildings to be named after Senator Arlen Specter and the late Congressman John Murtha.
The Democratic governor is setting aside $10 million for the Specter Library at Philadelphia University...
He's also earmarking another $10 million for the Murtha Center for Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Murtha represented the people of Pennsylvania for 36 years - he died this winter.
And there are other pet construction projects... in all - they total $600 million - all paid for with borrowed money.
This comes as Pennsylvania is taking a scalpel to its budget due to the recession. Social services, for example, are being cut - including those for autism, mental health services, and family crisis. Aid to public libraries is also being cut by nine percent.
So it's no surprise Governor Rendell is coming under fire for spending millions in borrowed money on a library for Arlen Specter.
But the governor says these construction projects are a way to keep more Pennsylvania residents employed and to keep the state's economy "humming."
Here’s my question to you: Is now the time for Pennsylvania to borrow $20 million for centers devoted to Arlen Specter and John Murtha?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Stories like this never cease to amaze me. While Americans are tightening the belt with their spending, losing jobs and homes, fearful of the future, these hapless politicos keeping partying like it's 1999. This IS NOT about "keeping the economy humming" and Rendell knows it.
Julie in Louisiana writes:
Why does Arlen Specter need a library? I thought that was for presidents. Why doesn't he pay for his own library?
Karl in San Francisco writes:
When these facilities are finished by construction workers, there will be permanent jobs for those who will maintain and operate them. The only money going into the economy now is from the government who is borrowing it from those fat money pigs that caused this mess in the first place. I don't see any Wall Streeters lifting a finger or a dollar to help the rest of us out. As long as all is well in the Hamptons, all is well everywhere. The fat cats got the gold mine and the rest of us are getting the shaft.
Donna in Pennsylvania writes:
I live in Pa., have all my life and just watched you on the Situation Room with tears in my eyes. I have a 15-year-old grandson with autism. That money should not be borrowed and if it is, use it on the budget. But that's not good either. I don't understand what is happening to the U.S.
Dave in Harrisburg writes:
I'm a Pa. Trooper and today I was driving around in a cruiser with 116K miles, overtime being micromanaged but $20 million wasted on nonsense. I can think of different ways to spend that kind of money.
If I were a member of Congress, I wouldn't even want people to know I had served there. Especially if I stayed way over the age of retirement just so I would have someone to talk to in my old age. But, that's just me.