GREENSBURG (February 9, 2012) – Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas today issued the following statement about his opposition to the 2012 county budget, approved by the Republican majority on the Board of Commissioners:
‘I cannot in good conscience vote for this budget. The path we are on is unsustainable.’ ‘We need to maintain our fund balance and keep it as high as possible. If we continue what we’re doing it will be gone.’
‘A tax increase is inevitable if we continue on the current path.’
“Those statements were part of the script Commissioner Chuck Anderson read last year in voicing his opposition to a county budget that included deficit spending. The hypocrisy of his words is obvious.
“This budget replaces a balanced budget with one that contains an $8 million operating deficit, and we’ve all been told repeatedly how bad deficit spending is. In fact, my colleagues spent tens of thousands of dollars last fall to convince voters it was wrong to have a budget deficit. Now it’s one of their first orders of business.
“They were either lying then. Or they’re lying now. And I cannot go along with it. “Sadly, this budget is the worst of both worlds. It spends more than we have, and the priorities in it are misplaced.
“It restores funding to political appointments, yet cuts for energy efficiency. It funds a vacancy in the Jury Commissioners office – a position we’ve determined is obsolete – while cutting funding for conservation. It ends funding for projects that were nearly complete – wasting past efforts and expenditures. It hires consultants, yet slashes funding for public libraries. And it will force tuition increases at the community college at a time when affordable education is more critical than ever.
“My colleagues’ defense of this budget will no doubt include blaming previous Boards of Commissioners. And amazingly, it will come from my colleague, Commissioner Anderson, who has held office longer than me.
“Finally, this budget reminds us all that empty campaign promises about balanced budgets and hollow slogans about deficits are no way to lead.
“This is a bad budget. It spends too much and in the wrong places. It’s hypocritical and perpetuates a fraud on county voters and taxpayers. I cannot support it.”