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PA Governor Wants Federal Aid He Doesn’t Need

Posted By Nathan Benefield On January 26, 2009 @ 1:45 pm In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

Then President-elect Barack Obama (C) and Vice President-elect Joe Biden (R) listen as Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) delivers his opening remarks during a National Governors Association meeting at Congress Hall in Philadelphia on December 2, 2008.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell sees a federal stimulus package and bailout of the states as both a fix to Pennsylvania’s current budget crunch and as a tool to revitalize the economy. Pennsylvania faces a revenue shortfall of $2.3 billion, according to Rendell’s latest guestimate. His proposed fix [1] relies on $450 million from a federal stimulus package. However, a look at recent Pennsylvania spending shows why a federal bailout of the states is bad policy.

Under Governor Rendell, Pennsylvania state spending increased 35.8%, well exceeding the rate of inflation of 17.4%. In Government on a Diet: Spending Tips 2008 [2], a report released last year, the Commonwealth Foundation identified billions in potential spending reductions.

While Governor Rendell has cut $500 million from the current state budget through freezing new hires and other measures, the revised budget still represents a 2.3% increase over 2007-08. It would be hard to argue he has “cut spending to the bone.” In fact, even after these cuts, the Commonwealth Foundation found about $1.4 billion in wasteful spending.

While Governor Rendell is now encouraging spending restraint and threatening layoffs [3] for state workers, he continues to practice “do as I say, not as I do [4]” politics. Rendell recently created a new position [5] for a former lawmaker and political ally, and continues to celebrate pork projects like grants to snowmobile clubs [6], a tourism website about a groundhog [7] in a car accident, and millions in grants for agriculture and tourism [8] and for the “President’s House [9]” project.

A federal bailout of the states only rewards the misuse of taxpayers’ money in states like Pennsylvania.

Nathan A. Benefield is Director of Policy Research with the Commonwealth Foundation [10].

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/01/26/pa-governor-wants-federal-aid-he-doesn%e2%80%99t-need/

URLs in this post:

[1] proposed fix: http://cfpolicyblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/pennsylvania-16-billion-budget.html

[2] Government on a Diet: Spending Tips 2008: http://mail.commonwealthfoundation.org/SpendingTips2008.pdf

[3] threatening layoffs: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2009/01/rendell_reports_state_deficit.html

[4] do as I say, not as I do: http://www.centralpennbusiness.com/blog.asp?pid=1591&bid=1015

[5] created a new position: http://www.pennlive.com/patriotnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/1232240103288010.xml&coll=1

[6] grants to snowmobile clubs: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/commentary/rendell-s-wicked-game

[7] website about a groundhog: http://cfpolicyblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/we-spent-taxpayer-money-on-this.html

[8] grants for agriculture and tourism: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=2999&PageID=431162&mode=2&contentid=http://pubcontent.state.pa.us/publishedcontent/publish/global/news_releases/governor_s_office/news_releases/pa_supporting_growth__expansion_of_agriculture__tourism_with__12_million_investment__governor_rendell_announces.html

[9] President’s House: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=2999&PageID=431162&mode=2&contentid=http://pubcontent.state.pa.us/publishedcontent/publish/global/news_releases/governor_s_office/news_releases/governor_rendell_recommends_drpa_funding_for_completion_of_president_s_house_site.html

[10] Commonwealth Foundation: http://cfpolicyblog.blogspot.com/

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