Changing the rules

We’ve been called out on GrassrootsPA for

“trying to re-write the rules at the end of the process. But I think
everyone can see the shell game being played by the CF – and that is the CF is
stunned that the Senate Republicans delivered according to the rules established
by the Commonwealth Foundation, so they (the CF) will just go and willy nilly
change the rules.”

I would rather be called an imbecile by the Governor.

The truth is this, we did offer some feedback to Sen. Folmer and Regola on the Taxpayer Protection Act, but we certainly did not “establish the rules”. Our goal was to limit the growth of spending. In fact, we advocate to limit all state spending, not just the General Fund. We also believe the limits should be applied to local governments, to ensure taxpayer protections.

We did advise them to add a provision to limit spending from the General Fund and “appropriations from a constitutionally or statutorily established fund created after the effective date of this section”. The goal of this was to prevent shifting funding to other funds. Apparently, according to GrassrootsPA commenter “Not so fast,” the shift of mass transit spending from the General Fund is to an existing fund, so it would not be covered. But it is not limiting spending, but rather, growing spending and hiding it. Here is more on that.

Now, as to changing the rules. Here is how we calculated the spending increase when the Governor proposed it. Here is how we calculated it in 2006. Here is how we calculated it in 2005. Same Method, every year.

Now, here is how Senate Republicans (or at least Gib Armstong) calculated the spending increase in February. Not only does their method exceed ours (they add supplemental appropriations for 2006-07 to the 07-08 budget and divide by the 2006-07 budget), but they criticize the Governor for hiding spending in his methods. The same method they are now using to defend their budget agreement.

Now who’s “changing the rules”?