HARRISBURG, PA — Commonwealth Foundation President and CEO Matthew J. Brouillette issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Rendell’s 2009-10 Budget Address:
“Gov. Rendell’s reliance on one-time federal bailout money to continue his profligate spending is as irresponsible as a family counting on winning the Lottery every year to pay its bills.
His hefty 38% increase in spending over the past six years—more than double the rate of inflation—is responsible for Pennsylvania facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, and having the 11th heaviest state and local tax burden in the nation.
Had Gov. Rendell and the General Assembly simply held spending growth over the last six years to inflation and population growth (19.8%), Pennsylvania would be looking at a minimum surplus of $3.8 billion rather than drowning in red ink. Additionally, $15.9 billion could have been returned to the taxpayers—that’s more than $5,000 for every family of four.
With regard to debt, Gov. Rendell consistently and conveniently ignores the debt burden from various state government authorities and commissions, as well as municipalities, counties, and school districts. Today, the total debt burden on taxpayers is over $110 billion—that’s more than $9,000 for every man, woman and child in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanians should not be fooled by this governor any longer. If Pennsylvania is the next state to tax-borrow-and-spend itself into prosperity, it will also be the first. Indeed, if increased government spending is the path to prosperity, then Pennsylvania would have already arrived. That approach has been tried, and it has utterly failed to revitalize our economy.
It’s time to eliminate all wasteful government spending and cut taxes on families and job creators. Only then will Pennsylvania return to fiscal and economic health.”
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The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, nonprofit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg.