“Man up.” That was Gov. Ed Rendell’s message to Keystone State lawmakers last week at an event launching his statewide tour promoting the state’s tax amnesty program (you know – the program that creeped out the nation with Orwellian threats from the PA Department of Revenue).
However, Rendell’s idea of what it is to “man up” is a little different than how you or I may think of it. Rather making tough decisions about necessary spending cuts (Read: actually governing), Rendell’s definition of “manning up” entails raiding the pocket books of Pennsylvania taxpayers – the same Pennsylvania taxpayers who had to work 226 whole days last year just to pay for the cost of PA’s bloated state government and who just had hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes imposed upon them last year.
When Rendell claims that legislative Republicans are obstructionists and that tax increases are necessary, know that is a lie. In fact, House Republicans have proposed a series of reforms that would bring state spending within anticipated revenues without more job killing tax increases. The Commonwealth Foundation has also proposed a host of common-sense and much needed reforms that will rectify the state’s overspending problem.
While House Republicans remain in steadfast opposition to tax increases, sources at the PA Capitol have expressed concern that Senate Republicans, who hold a 30-20 majority in that chamber, may cave in to pressure from Rendell at the end of the day. If there is ever a time when the public understands that the taxpayer well is dry and that the state can’t spend what it doesn’t have – now is that time. If Senate Republicans can’t stand up to Rendell’s bully tactics now, they never will. ATR encourages Pennsylvania taxpayers to contact their Senator today and urge them to hold the line against Rendell’s tax hikes.
The deadline by which lawmakers must pass a budget is June 30. However, don’t expect that to be met. It hasn’t been met once during Rendell’s entire tenure in office and last year the budget wasn’t finalized until 101 days after the deadline. It looks like legislators might need to prepare for another long, hot summer in Harrisburg.