Skip to comments.Rendell Tax Plans Would Kill Pennsylvania
Posted on 09/07/2009 5:40:58 AM PDT by IbJensen
Despite a constitutional requirement that a budget be in place by June 30, the impasse remains, giving Pennsylvania the distinction of being the only state without a fiscal plan.
After 67 days, why can't our elected officials figure out a solution? This rift between Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell and the Senate Republicans is as simple as is gets.One side truly cares about the welfare of Pennsylvania citizens, and the other cares about his legacy.
The Senate, which happens to be the only Republican legislative body north of Virginia and east of Ohio, has done a stellar job of adhering to its Party principles by refusing to raise taxes. Period. Its leaders, including Sens. Dominic Pileggi, Joe Scarnati and Jane Orie, have stood stronger than most political analysts predicted, and continue to win the support of the people because of their convictions.
These leaders have articulated the position that government, just like Pennsylvanian families, must tighten its belt, especially when times are tough. Of course some cuts are tough to swallow, but in large part, many spending programs should have never been passed in the first place. Over-bloated budgets, increased bureaucracy, and reckless spending all have to be reigned in, and that's exactly what the senate is doing. Its bottom line is that restoring fiscal sanity to Harrisburg must be the cornerstone of any budget deal.
Most important, the Senate innately understands that you cannot tax your way out of a recession and into prosperity. It's that simple. And that idea, anathema to Ed Rendell, is why there is no budget deal.
Mr. Rendell sees it differently. His vision is to further burden his constituents by increasing tax rates (he wants to raise the personal income tax by 16%), expand existing taxes (he has proposed widely expanding the scope of the sales tax), and enact new taxes (he had proposed high taxes on natural-gas extraction of what could be Pennsylvania's next booming industry the Marcellus shale fields).
Oh, and he wants to increase revenue by allowing video poker and table games throughout the state.
What Mr. Rendell doesn't get is that the way to increase revenue for state coffers is by creating a business-friendly state. Instead of trampling on the backs of already-weary Pennsylvanians, which only causes more flight of our best and brightest people and companies, he should be pushing to attract business and the high-paying jobs that come with it.
But when a state has the reputation of having one of the worst business and legal climates in the country, the facts speak for themselves.
Pennsylvania was once the leading industrial powerhouse in the country, a magnet for companies to locate here, and with them, the best and brightest workforce America had to offer. Our children were educated here, and actually stayed in Pennsylvania because of the jobs that were created by a booming economy. But now our biggest export is our children.
Too many of our nations finest doctors come to Pennsylvania for an education only to flee to other states when they discover how heavy the burden of malpractice insurance is here.
In much of Pennsylvania, the manufacturing economy is little more than a distant memory. Our hostile legal climate has increased the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania to the point that we are virtually last in America for job creation.
The number of companies and jobs moving away from Pennsylvania speaks for itself. In too many parts of Pennsylvania, the economic lights have already dimmed, and may soon go out altogether.
Our economic decline can't simply be shrugged off as the unfortunate consequences of the transition to a twenty-first century economy. Left unchecked, it has the potential to turn much of Pennsylvania into an economic backwater shaped only by the sad ghosts of the past.
If Mr. Rendell's tax plans were to pass, that will be a stake through the heart of the Commonwealth, a final last gasp for Pennsylvania.
By contrast, if Pennsylvania is to regain its once proud position, it must aggressively rebuke the Democrats' motto of loving jobs but hating employers.
With the senate holding the line, that might just happen.
Pennsylvanians need to arm themselves with pitchforks and torches and march on Rendell's Harrisburg mansion, much like the villagers marching on Dr. Frankensteins's castle, or Van Helsing seeking out Dracula's crypt in order to solve a serious problem.
As a former Pennsylvanian, I hope PA can straighten this mess out.
And by the way, IbJensen, thank you for posting this article, and for many other good articles you have put up here at FR. This is valuable and informative.
Fast Eddie has been doing this to us since Day One of his administration.
Pennsylvania is a state with the second largest retired population (second only to Florida) in the nation and an industrial base that has been eroded by years of union-sympathizing, liberal government.
The occasional Republican Administrations have been feckless (Tom Ridge).
The youth go to college in Pennsylvania (the state ranks near the top in number of colleges in the nation) and then leave as fast as they can because professional jobs are not available in large numbers here.
Oh, you can work in the healthcare industry (which is the only booming industry in this state —— thanks to the elderly!)
The natural gas drilling is slow because prices stink and because this state views the gas companies as a means of revenue and environmental controls, rather than as an economic potential.
The current status of Pennsylvania’s economy is understood by looking at the 64 story US Steel Building.
The top of the skyscraper now has a “UPMC” sign (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).
Rendell Tax Plans Would Kill Pennsylvania more quickly. But his plans don’t don’t matter much, do they? Pennsylvania is dying and will die. Our chocolate city, Philadelphia, is rapidly shrinking, and no steel comes from Pittsburgh any more. The oil, coal, and hardwood lumber are gone, and the populace is the nation’s second-largest collection of oldsters, behind Florida. Pennsylvania is, these days, little more than a patched-together version of New New Jersey and North West Virginia.
Mallard Fillmore's comic strip Sunday, 9/6
"How to tell if your government's nuts", with a politician saying "Taxing obesity will end it. Taxing prosperity will increase it."
That one doesn't bother me.
It's the skyscraper with "K&L Gates" that irritates me.
This story has it right. "...government, just like Pennsylvanian families, must tighten its belt, especially when times are tough..."
“Tax Plans Would Kill Pennsylvania more quickly. ...Pennsylvania is dying and will die...”
No need for such pessimism.
While you accurately describe the situation as dire, you underestimate the resiliency of the American people and economy.
If - PA chooses to throw off the shackles of oppressive and intrusive government the State economy would quickly respond as companies continually seek the most favorable business climates. - That’s a very big IF though.
Well, we're sure gonna give it a try this election! Can't speak for all of PA, but here in south central PA, within a half hour drive of Harrisburg, folks are seriously pi$$3d off at the politicians! I have a good feeling about the coming elections. Better than I felt in September of 2008.
I thought all of these casinos that Rendell wanted were going to help us here in PA.
The one near me (Grantville) is doing good business.
But that doesn’t mean the money is going to help us lowly citizens.
PennDOT sure appears to have money. Road crews are everywhere. Especially on the PA Turnpike.
The nine PA casinos in August 2009 generated $186,936,232 in gross revenue compared to $156,052,262 in August 2008 when seven casinos were in operation.
TAXES in August, based on the 55% rate, were $102,789,443, an average of $3.32 million per day returned to Pennsylvania taxpayers.
The casinos collectively retained $84,146,789.07 of the gross revenue for the month.
There. Fixed it!
Fast Eddie promised back in 2004 that all our problems would be “solved” by casinos. Well they are almost all in place now and so far my property tax bill was cut one time last year by $220. It was cut this year by nothing.
The teachers keep getting their big raises each year no matter what the economy does. In my district, they get a 3.5% raise EVERY year for the next 5 years. Plus they get their steps built into their contract. What a deal! My salary has been flat or 5 years AND my cost of health care goes up between $50 and $100 per month per years. It is now up to $352 per month. That is not even counting the copay increases. In my school district, I think the teachers now pay $25 per month TOTAL for health care! No co pays and no deductibles.
We were invited to go to the Sands Casino in Bethlehem for dinner a few weeks ago. We’re not gamblers, so we were amazed at how crowded it was. Our friends blew over $100 on the slots in minutes.
We have a friend who is a retired NJ teacher, and he gets health insurance.
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