Pa. Senate approves “Rendell Lite”

With an easy 44-5 vote, the PA Senate approved spending $650M over 10 years on alternative energy.

With this vote, Senate Republicans have drawn a line in the sand: Yes, they support handouts to politically connected special interests, but as fiscal conservatives, they are only willing to spend 71% as much as Governor Rendell. And they aren’t willing to increase tax rates, just collect more in gross receipts taxes when energy prices increase. They are only willing to borrow $250 million, and won’t spend all the funding during Governor Rendell’s term (but I guess giving the Commonwealth Financing Authority more money undermines eliminating it, though they thought I’d forgotten about that one).

Rendell Lite is a clear demonstration of the differences between the parties.

Ironically, Rendell Lite is SB 1 (special session) , as is the Open Records bill still being hammered out. Note how much easier it is to pass a bill that spends the public’s money than it is to pass one that gives the public access to information.

Update: The Dissenting Opinion, offered by Senator Regola, is here.