Episode 132 – Featuring Matt Brouillette (The Commonwealth Foundation)

Anatomy Of A Budget:  Why Business Should Be the Benchmark For Government To Attain When It Comes To Laying Out the Fiscal Playbook


Few, if any, of us, LIKE doing it.  It can be very dry.  Very painstaking.  And for a number of us, whose reality lies far afield of the expectations we we set when we budget, very disconcerting.

But it’s a necessary evil. And even though there are resources in place to help you along,  wrapping your head around an effective budgeting strategy can still be a struggle.

But still, you make ti happen.   In a household, you sit down with your significant other and make the necessary adjustments to get yourselves in as good a position as you can be in, given your current circumstances.   In a business, you sit down with your C-Suite, your finance team, and/or your board of directors and do the same.

But what if you were a government entity?   What if you or your team is tasked with crafting an ideal budget, and you get extreme pushback from an entire sector of people whose approval you need to make your proposed budget a reality, pushback to the point where, if they don’t agree with what you propose, then what you propose DOES NOT HAPPEN?  And what if, downstream of that, you get FURTHER grief from an even larger group of people (your constituents) who have to often feel the brunt of the result of your budget, and have no say in how your budget is laid out in the first place, aside from picking you to be the one to do it in the first place?

In the State of Pennsylvania, (home state of “The Raja Show“) budget has been the key buzzword in 2016.  In the State Capitol of Harrisburg, Governor Tom Wolf has faced unprecedented gridlock, as there was almost no formal resolution of the State budget for fiscal year 2015-2016, a time period that had been more than halfway lapsed, by the time that he was to lay out his proposed budget for 2016-2017.

Budget stalemates are nothing new to the Keystone State, but the continuation and escalation of such gridlock is doing nothing but stoke the fires of mistrust and doubt in the State’s elected leadership in the hearts and minds of its citizenry. And they provide fuel to the State’s watchdog punditry on both sides of the aisle, experts who know there is an effective solution that lies somewhere in the vast middle.

One such watchdog, which has been keeping tabs on the goings on in Harrisburg for almost 30 years, is the Commonwealth Foundation for Policy Alternatives, based in Harrisburg.  They have been the undisputed champion when it comes to mapping out the feasibility of such common sense initiatives like privatization of the State’s liquor stores and turnpike, and increased school choice for parents, factoring in charter schools and school vouchers to go along with standard public and private education options.

For almost half of its existence,since taking over as President of the Foundation in 2002, the man who has been the public face of the Commonwealth Foundation, Matt Brouillette, has worked tirelessly to right the wrongs he sees in the way that Pennsylvania does business.  And unlike many critics who will be the first ones to call out the problems without providing any semblance of a solution, Matt comes to the table with facts, figures, and real world case studies, courtesy of a top-shelf research and support staff, that back up every word he says.

On this edition of “The Raja Show”, Matt will join Raja to say some of those words, about the State of the State Budget, the current issues with education in the State of Pennsylvania, and the other line items that are currently grinding the gears of the leading watchdog in Harrisburg.   While this show is an obvious must for Pennsylvania residents proper, it’s also a must for anybody OUTSIDE of PA who wants a first-hand education in what to do, and what NOT to do, when operating and overseeing public policy in state government.