Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The State and Oil City

Make no mistake about it, the budget crisis facing the state is going to have a direct impact on Oil City and the region, and it is not likely to be good.

The question is how bad will it get?

We need to be prepared and we need to fight for those programs we think critical to our future.

Among the state programs high on my priority list are the Main Street Program and Weed and Seed.

In the budget proposals now floating around Harrisburg both are slated for significant cuts, in some proposals to virtual elimination. Both programs have had real success in local communities, revitalizing many of the state’s older cities. Oil City is poised to be a beneficiary, but will largely lose that opportunity if deep cuts are made to those programs, flushing countless hours of local work down the tubes.

The Oil City Weed and Seed program was just approved and funded by the state after months of local efforts to make it a reality. It makes no sense to me for the state to initiate the program and then cut it just as it begins to make a difference.

Main Street is much the same story. The community really came together to develop a Main Street Program application, including detailed five-year plans and raising more than $100,000 in local money to match and leverage state funding. We – the community – did our part in good faith. The state legislature needs to follow through.

I recognize the financial problems facing the state and nation. We are in an era of tough choices and we must get our fiscal house in order. But if we don’t save our communities what do we have?

I also recognize that I am like most and somewhat hypocritical when it comes to state and federal government programs. What benefits me and my community I view as essential, what benefits someone else’s community (especially if it is Philadelphia or Pittsburgh) is pork and waste.

We are all going to have to make compromises and that means a willingness to look at the needs of others.

And that comes back to prioritizing based on real needs and real value.

I wonder if our legislature is up to that or if this year will be like past years; simply Pennsylvania politics as usual – posturing for political gain, acting on personal animosities and a concern for “what can I get” rather than what will benefit the Commonwealth.