The state Senate leadership recently voted to use the Taxpayer Protection Index inflation plus population growth to compose the state budget for the coming year.
It remains be be seen whether the state budget actually will be finalized with the index as the barometer, but it wouldn't be a bad idea.
The state of Pennsylvania is in its budgetary mess precisely because it has used just the opposite approach to putting together a budget. For most of the past decade, much of the state's budget leadership has determined what the spending "needs" are and then built a tax-based budget to subsidize those priorities.
The result was a 36-percent increase in state General Fund spending during the Rendell administration's eight years.
And the impact has been tough spending discipline during the first two years of the Corbett administration, with many human services allocations unfortunately sliced to difficult levels.
Had the Taxpayer Protection Index been used to determine the size of the state budget from 2003-04 to 2010-11, a cumulative $31.5 billion would have been saved.
The result would have been a state pension system in better long-term conditions, human services agencies maintaining the funding allocations they deserve, public education subsidies not under siege and a state budget without the daunting debt it faces.
So tell us again why it's a bad idea to make the Taxpayer Protection Index a constitutional amendment?