The mindset of Ed Rendell

Pennsylvania’s budget impasse is continuing now into its sixth week, as Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) and the Democrats who control the state House of Representatives cannot agree with the Republicans who control the state Senate. State workers have seen their paychecks vanish, even while they have stayed on the job, and the legislature agreed to a stopgap funding bill which would pay state workers.

By Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

Gov. Rendell to sign temporary Pa. budget today¹


HARRISBURG – Gov. Rendell today is to sign into law a sharply pared-down budget bill that will allow the state to begin paying its employees again but withhold billions in state dollars for public schools, counties, and social-service organizations.

The skeleton measure is meant to be a temporary solution to the state’s budget stalemate, now in its second month. Rendell and top lawmakers are still wrangling over a spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1, and they will continue their negotiations.

“The public has been frustrated by this budget impasse,” Rendell told reporters yesterday. “We all understand that frustration, and hopefully, we are going to roll up our sleeves and do something about it. We are not just sitting around doing nothing.”

That much is accurate and unobjectionable. But there is one sentence later in the article which tells us almost everything we need to know about Governor Rendell:

The governor, with the support of Democrats in the legislature, had been pushing for a 16 percent hike in the state’s personal-income tax rate. Rendell advocated the tax increase to help pay, in part, for more funding for schools.

Republicans who control the Senate have been dead set against any broad-based tax increase during a recession, saying such a move would only hurt working families. Instead, they have sought to rein in spending.

On Monday, however, the budget landscape shifted when House Democrats declared publicly for the first time that Rendell’s tax increase was dead.

Rendell would not concede the point yesterday, but he added that he had said for weeks that he was not wedded to the proposal.

He said he would drop the idea if the legislature came to him with a counterproposal to raise revenue in the coming years. He would not say whether he had a preference as to what that might be.

“I gave them my idea – my idea is the best. The ball is in their court now,” Rendell said.

In other words, our good governor is perfectly willing to give up on the idea of an increase in the state’s income tax . . . if the legislature will raise other taxes. What the Governor simply doesn’t get is that we don’t want any taxes raised, we don’t want any “counterproposal to raise revenue.” What we want is for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to spend less!

I’ve previously noted the Quinnepac Poll of 21 July 2009, in which Pennsylvanians surveyed preferred, by a 55% to 35% margin, that the state cut services rather than raise taxes to balance the budget. And while we don’t have the initiative process here that Californians have, I’d note that the voters of the Golden State, a very liberal state which gave 61% of its votes to Barack Obama last year, rejected proposed tax increases by a nearly two-to-one margin. Yet Governor Rendell cannot — or refuses to — understand that people don’t support tax increases, and don’t support ever-increasing spending.

Governor Rendell’s original budget proposal was $29.1 billion. In FY2009, Pennsylvania’s budget was $28.1 billion. That means that the Governor wanted a 3.6% budget increase over last year, at a time when revenues were declining, when a lot of taxpayers were losing their jobs, and many others were seeing their hours reduced. Most Pennsylvanians are having to reduce their spending, because they simply have less money — yet the governor wanted to increase spending by 3.6%!

Ed Rendell just can’t understand; it’s time for the Republicans who control the state Senate to educate him.
¹ – The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, 5 April 2009, p. B-1


  1. Ed Rendell is genetically predisposed to raise taxes and raise spending. It’s in his genes with his hand in my jeans robbing me. And I don’t even get to smile.

  2. From My Local State Rep.

    Budget Impasse Far From Over As Rendell, House Democrat Leaders Continue
    Tax Hike Push

    More than a month after the state budget deadline, a temporary budget that will pay state workers and maintain basic government operations is now in place. But the budget impasse is far from over, as the Rendell Administration and House Democrat leaders continue to insist on spending beyond our means.

    House Republicans are committed to a responsible budget that funds the core functions of government, making do with what we have.

    After holding state employees hostage for more than a month by withholding their paychecks, the passage of the temporary, stopgap budget exchanges them for a much larger group of hostages:

    Public schools, higher education institutions and their students who depend on PHEAA grants.

    Pennsylvanians who rely on social services provided by county governments.

    Veterans who receive state-related services.

    Families who are part of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
    and thousands more.

    It’s long past time to get serious about making the tough decisions needed to balance our state budget without a broad-based tax increase. I am hopeful that budget negotiations will resume promptly and, in the coming weeks, we can pass a responsible budget that holds the line on taxes and funds essential services and needs.

  3. only people who have no idea of what they’re talking about think California is a “liberal state” – California’s the state that brought you a certain politician known as Ronald Reagan! I know, I know: “they went for Obama, they’re liberal.” Newsflash: plenty of conservatives voted Obama, because nobody in his right mind wanted McCain to be president.

    California has led the conservative anti-tax mindset since the early 70s; that it’s not of the legislate-morality “conservative” mindset doesn’t make it liberal. That kind of conservative isn’t really conservative at all, just stupid.

  4. Mr Tallis: California did indeed give us Ronald Reagan. But, as I recall, Ronald Reagan ran in 1980 and 1984, rather a long time ago. Perhaps you can tell us: when was the last time a Republican presidential candidate carried the Golden State? Or: who are California’s two United States Senators, and to which party do they belong? Or perhaps: out of California’s 53 congressmen, how many are Democrats?

    Naturally, I know the answers; they hardly support your notion that California isn’t liberal.

  5. I’d also point out that President Obama received about 54% of the vote nationwide, while Californians gave 61% of their votes to Mr Obama. That alone indicates that California voters were to the left of voters nationwide.

  6. Who’s California’s governor? What’s their property tax rate? Those are the only questions a real conservative would ask. If you knew who ran for Senate in ’08, you’d know that conservatives voted Democrat; California Republicans don’t vote party over good sense, and California Republicans tend to be of the I’m Completely Insane stripe.

  7. Pingback: Be an Initiatior Not an Imitator - Reality Zap

  8. Of course, since you continue to labor under the delusion that the Republican party represents your conservative values, you will remain befuddled on these questions; you’ve bought the bill of goods, and they’ll keep saying the right things to get your donations while never giving you even an ounce of representation for your effots. CA conservatives are smarter; they know who’ll work for and/or with them and who’s just nuts and/or power-hungry.

  9. California is a strange state. There was a time when it was considered the basis for Republican Presidential victories. Now it seems as if it is NYC raised to a higher power of trendy lunacy.

    There is a need for less government in the state but who will take the lead? The Ahnold “cult of personality” victory was the culmination of a cruel hoax.

    Almost every solvent or chemical known to mankind has a label warning that California has deemed to be be somehow carcinogenic.

    A reading of applicable portions of David Horowitz’ Radical Son will give a better insight to the Californication Syndrome.

    Note that before Jim Jones Kool-Aid Kaper, the Reverend Jones was a darling of many trendy Golden State politicians and the recipient of largesse in the form of taxpayer-funded patronage. Few dared to question the ‘spiritual leader’ other than the Rev. Lester Kinsolving, who then wrote a religion column in a local newspaper. The Rev. Kinsolving has moved east and is now a talk radio guy who broadcasts from WCBM.

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