The daily collegian. (University Park, Pa.) 1940-current, July 13, 1977, Image 2

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    Editorial opinion
When will it end?
On top of all the hassles
state legislature is causil
citizens by not having its bu
get finished on time, the co]
ference committee now
charge of the budget hi
closed its meetings to the pu
Sen. Henry .Cianfrani,
Philadelphia, chairman of ,
special conference commith
composed of six legislator
said, "I don't think I can a ,
complish anything with y'
guys around, so I'm using
prerogative as committt
chairman to call an executi ,
Ciafrani is the state senate
who told University officia.
last term, "I don't see whet
.„ FCQ
Budget woes
During the last several weeks I have received many letters
from constituents concerning the budget problems we are
facing in the Commonwealth. Many of you are justifiably
concerned about the delays, the problems of balancing the
budget and a possible tax increase. I have answered each of
these letters giving my own views and presenting the various
sides of the budget, subsidy, and Philadelphia tax problems.
This week I received a long letter from "concerned citizens
and taxpayers" with their views on the budget problem and
posing a list of questions ibout government spending and
taxes. Unfortunately, these concerned citizens did not sign
their letter or give an address to which I could respond, asking
instead for a response in this column or on my radio report.
This, of course, I can't do. I am always more than.willing to
talk with any constituents or to answer questions by mail, but
when newspapers and radio stations give time and space to
any public official, they expect and rightly so, that' the
material presented will be of general interest and concern to
all of the people in the district and cannot be specific answers
to special questions.
Generally, I can say, that no Representative in the House
wants tc increase taxes. I have consistently indicated that I
will vote for a tax increase if there is a general subsidy
program for all of the schools of Pennsylvania and not just for
Philadelphia, and if I am convinced that it is necessary to
balance the State budget: I honestly believe that only through
a new state subsidy formula will it be possible to hold the line
on local property taxes for schools.
The formula we are now trying to adopt would help all of our
school districts, not just this year, but in the future, and I have
been working to achieve that subsidy reform. Not only am I
continuing to support adequate funding for basic education but
for higher education as well, and to that end I have been
working very hard to achieve equitable funding for Penn State
as a State-related university. InCreased support for all of
education is a very vital part of the over-all budget problem.
The state legislature is considering several measures which
The metric system
A new series of radio and television
commercials is now being broadcast
with increasing frequency. The
television version of one of these ads
shows two animated blob-like creatures
dancing around urging America in song
to "take 10 minutes to learn the metric
way." .
On the radio, the announcer sings
"learn the metric system it's good for
America, the economy, and you." They
make it sound so patriotic and so
I suppose it is simple a system with
three basic units for length, volume and
weight on which all of the other units are
based in multiples of ten. Most people
have encountered the system at one time
or another and have resigned them
selves to the fact that the country will
soon go through the big conversion.
However, I'm sure it will be the
simplest for today's pre-school children.
They'll be learning the system fresh
when they enter elementary school
with no inches, pounds or quarts in their
minds. But what about the rest of us?
I realize that compared to my parents
I have been using the present English
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ing was a $75 to $lOO increase (in depending on what the state • 1
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Id- tuition." allocates to them. The Uni-
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in press might catch him in a ing money and paying interest MK/ --'
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lb- budget meetings. Now that the special com- 5:7 . ..-- , ,--.,%,
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the No matter what his reason- enter into the budget, or even ' , '::-.;-.7,>,, - ;:-;', _ ' l / 4 .‘ % ~ ai 4) ,„ ~ ~•:.,,,;,'
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you tee's priorities. - ation, an organization of re- .
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my Everyone on the state pay- porters who cover the state i 't"PVieA`, ~7
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i :e e roll desires to know if they will capitol, are hiring an attorney •
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importantly, when they will the committee to hold open oriqq,adh gkigio ;, .-- ~,
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is Penn State and other uni- Considering what is in- . ,„„, , 0 , ,
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re versities have cancelled volved, we wish them luck.
99 10 'TAPES' „ . *
system for a short time but it still
amounts to my whole life.
I know what the system is —•I know
the units and the conversions. But how
long it will take until the system is a
functional working part of me (and of
everyone else over the age of eight), I
have no way of knowing. It's just like
changing to any new way of doing
anything the new way will gradually
become a part of you, but there will be a
lot of things you will still be tempted to
do the old way because it's familiar.
'inclA-j a//2-r,
Of course, there is a lot to be said for
the metric system. Many people have
pointed out the advantages of using the
same system of measurement as most, of
the major countries of the world. There
are enough international com
munications barriers as far as language
and culture are concerned the metric
Letters - to the Editor.:
would enable the legislature to have a tighter control on
executive spending, which would provide a review by the
legislature of state agencies and departments so that projects
and programs are evaluated regularly and not funded
automatically. This type of sunset legislation is long overdue.
I have co-sponsored some of the legislation and will support
it when it comes up. This should help us do a better job of
budgeting in the future so that we do not automatically in
crease spending every year.
Many of us who are new to the Legislature are trying to deal
as responsibly as we can with the problems we have inherited
while trying to suggest ways to improve the process for the
future. I know that as one legislator I can't change the entire
process in one year or even two, but working pith many other
concerned legislators over a period of time, I am convinced
that we can make the changes necessary to have not only a
better budgeting process, but ultimately a more efficient
Speed it up
At last someone's come up with a great idea to speed up the
passage of the . ERA. The National Organization for Women
( NOW) is asking those who support the ERA (Equal Rights
Amendment) to give up smoking cigarettes until the ERA is
NOW has a sound basis to this boycott. They point out most
of the tobacco grown in the United States is,raised in five
states that haven't ratified the ERA (the ERA needs 3 more
states to ratify by March of 1979). Two of these states Nbrth
Carolina and Virginia produce most of the cigarettes for the
• U.S. ( Incidentally, ratification of the ERA in Virginia lost by
ONE vote.)
With females spending $lO million a DAY for cigarettes,
even a cut-back might produce a desired effect. NOW further
reminds women that the tobacco industry's after-tax profits
Budget business not mysterious
AP Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) . There's no
mystery or magic about it, says the man
in charge of .changing the way the
government does business on the budget.
But there are questions about zero
base budgeting, and there is a jargon
that certainly sounds mysterious.
There are "discrete increments of
services" which means separate and
distinct government programs and
"goal congruence" which means
corresponding and harmonious ob
jectives and "ptioritizing" which didn't
make the dictionary, but means ranking
by order of importance and desirability.
Then there are decision packages,
brief accounts of what the government is
doing in each discrete increment of
service, how much it has been costing,
and what it should cost next year.
Nobody really knows how many
decision packages will be wrapped into
the preparation of President Carter's
budget for• the government year
beginning on Oct. 1, 1978. They'll find out
in a month or so, when the agencies start
delivering their packages to the Office of
Management and Budget.
For all of that, and for all the skeptics
Helen Wise
state representative
77th District
system may be a right step in this
direction. Others have spoken of how the
conversion will aid the economy because
of the amount of money,that will have to
be spent by various companies, etc. in
effecting the change (everything from
roadsigns to mathematics textbooks will
have to be changed to metrics).
But the fact remains that it will
probably be a bit more difficult than the
commercials claim for an entire nation
measuring things one way to start
changing their ways.
Now the roadsigns and math books
will not be the only things to go through
the conversion. A variety of institutions,
cliches and ways of accomplishing
certain tasks will also have to change.
For one thing, can you imagine the
way Weight Watchers will be affected
when the country goes metric? I have
enough trouble keeping track of the
pounds without having to worry about
grams and kilograms.
Also, my Smokey the Bear ruler
( along with all of the other rulers with
strange but classic slogans) will be on
its way to the Smithsonian Institution
before I know it.
in Congress and elsewhere, the ad
ministration is confident that the new
system can be implemented swiftly and
efficiently, and that will pay dividends.
in savings and in improved federal
"There's nothing-mystical or magical
about zero base budgeting," said James
T. Mclntyre Jr., deputy director of the
Office of Management and Budget. "It's
a very simple process. It forces old
programs to compete with new
programs and new initiatives . . . "
The idea is to draft the budget on the
basis of programs and their objectives,
instead of last year's numbers. Each
program is supposed to be analyzed by
the people who run it and who, in theory,
know best whether it is working 'ef
fectively or whether there are better
ways to do the job. That leads to the
decision package, which covers
proposed spending.
Each echelon of the government gets
the decision packages from the levels
below, imposes its priorities, and passes
on a consolidated package.
And in the end, President Carter sets
the figures and priorities in a zero base
budget. He'll send it to Congress next
amounted to $919 billion in 1975. To further encourage you, I
might remind you that lung cancer is catching up with
smokers, and women aren't immune.
What can you do instead of smoking? You can think about
what life would be like without equal rights under the law
(even though Pennsylvania approved the ERA in 1972, 38
states must ratify by the deadline). You can suck a California
( but not Florida!) lemon. If you really need a smoke, smoke
something grown in Mexico, or Colombia, or your closet . . .
With the money you save, you can pledge the money to
NOW, or to the League of Women Voters which both have ERA
Ratification funds. If you don't smoke, you can do your part by
refusing to buy from states which haven't ratified. (Florida,
South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabana,
Mississippi, Illinois, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Louisiana,
Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.)
For once, those in favor of equal rights will have the op
portunity to put their money where their mouth is.
We object to certain views stated in Ms. Lear's article (July
11) about radicalism, specifically some comments voiced by
Mr. Ackerman, president of the USG. We find it rather
ludicrous that a person should be considered apathetic just
because his or her main goal in attending school is to receive
an education. What else is a school for? Why should you even
come to a university if all you want to do is play politics? That
can be done at home. .
It seems as though certain persons lament the current lack
of protests. Are they sorry that the nation is not fighting in
Southeast Asia or torn by internal strife? Do they miss
protesting for protesting's sake, since waving signs about is
considerably easier than doing well in Math 62?
We find the actions of Mr. Wright's advisee more com
mendable than simply sitting at Penn State, blocking traffic
on North Atherton Street. Instead of attempting to implement
not simple
Instead of being 5 foot 2, I'll be 15.7480
decimeters ( try remembering that
every time some sort of application asks
for your height and weight).
When a deceased person is buried,
they'll say he's "18.288 decimeters
deep" ( instead of 6 feet).
And just think of the hassle Bert Parks
will have at the Miss America pageant
when he has to introduce a perfect 36-24-
36 figure as 9.144-6.096-9.144! -
Remember the old adage "mind your
p's and q's?" (The p and q stand for pint
and quart.) Might we someday hear
"mind your d's and l's" (deciliters and
liters? )
These are a small example of how
things will be changing when the metric
system goes into effect in this country.
Hopefully the conversion will be gradual
so that we don't experience the changes
all at once. I still contend that, although
the change may be necessary, it will be a
bit time-consuming and difficult.
But I just realized something I had
to use the metric system to write this
column. Perhaps it won't be so difficult
after all.
winter. The format and content will be
like those of prior budgets. The dif
ference is in preparation, not presen
tation. And Carter says the new system
will reduce costs, while making
government more efficient and ef
fective. -
The big difference is in the proceis
that is going on now, as government
agencies prepare the budget recom
mendations that will be submitted to the
Office of Management and Budget in
"This system requires that the people
who run programs be involved in the
budget," Mclntyre said. "That provides
communication from the bottom up.
That's how you get realistic alternatives
to the way we're doing things . . .
"It forces a manager to make some
tough decisions. If he didn't have to
prioritize, he could just say 'I want it
all.' "
Mclntyre said the new budget system
also will lead to closer examination of
what the government is really doing
"at the programs, at the way we're
delivering services around the country."
Carter's decision to go ahead im
mediately with the shift to zero base
Eva C. Whitley
13th-general arts and sciences
.z 1 - ~ tc'i•.
chaos, she took positive steps to change what she felt wa's,u
wrong, thereby supporting her beliefs with action. Perhaps
one of the faults of the 60s was that nearly everyone had
something to shout, but few had anything concerte to con,
tribute to society. t Al
David Title ,
3rd-meteorolog y
Ray Deatheradirols,.
3rd-petroleum and natural gas engineeritigiliE
- aso
dailyt .
olle - Iguan a
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budgeting is in contrast to his cautious,iiw
methodical pace on such items as -tagzi:
and welfare reform and government.iv
reorganization. '
Rep. Max Baucus, D-Mont„
congressional expert on zero bas
budgeting, advised Carter against it. H
wrote Carter that the new system should"
be phased in, with only selected agenbies
and programs subject to .zero base
budgeting this year.
He said an immediate, • govern,- ) a „
mentwide shift would risk com ilju
promising the prograrri beneath aa
mountain of paperwork(
' say:
But Carter promised to start iin•
mediately, and he r has. Mclntyre,' whq.,,,
installed zero base budgeting for Carter ^'
in Georgia, says the system is one
and on course. ' .10;
There had been some suspicion, that
the bureaucracy might drag its feet on
Carter's proposed changes. 1.•:
But Mclntyre said government em,r t
ployees have been cooperative and in
enthusiastic about the new budget
system. "I've felt on occasion like we T4
weren't moving fast enough at OMB," hil il ,
said. .%
1.4 " 09i