Time for A Taxpayer’s Budget

HARRISBURG, PA —The Commonwealth Foundation today released A Taxpayer’s Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania, a report identifying $4 billion in spending reductions to Gov. Rendell’s proposed state budget and outlining needed spending reforms.

“Before lawmakers impose higher taxes on Pennsylvania residents and businesses, they must justify the $66 billion they are already spending and cut waste,” said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation.  “Pennsylvanians should be aware of how state government is misspending their hard-earned tax dollars. The good news is that we can reduce state spending while still maintaining a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.”

The report breaks down recommendations for reducing the size of state government into three categories: corporate welfare, “Yellow Pages government” and self-service government.  Some examples highlighted include:

  • $36 million for M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Last Airbender from the Film Tax Credit;
  • $225 million in new debt for pork projects from the RACP program, including $15 million for Harley Davidson;
  • A potential $2 billion windfall from privatizing state-run liquor stores;
  • Nearly $50 million in state-produced advertisements and commercials.

In addition, A Taxpayer’s Budget offers recommendations for improving core services and the budget process.  These include public pension reform, state spending transparency, repealing prevailing wage laws, and Medicaid reform.

“Lawmakers need to look beyond simply balancing this year’s budget and make some of the changes needed for long-term fiscal stability,” said Brouillette.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The full report, A Taxpayer’s Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania, is available online and by calling 717.671.1901.  For more on the Pennsylvania State Budget, visit www.PABudget.org.

The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.