Pennsylvania Voters Hit the Brakes on Runaway Government

HARRISBURG, PA — Commonwealth Foundation President & CEO Matthew J. Brouillette released the following statement regarding yesterday’s general election:

“Yesterday, millions of Pennsylvanians collectively hit the brakes on runaway government in Washington and Harrisburg.  In race after race, they voted against years of over-spending, over-borrowing, and under-performing.  Voters also sent the clear message that they don’t want to be governed by the right, the left or the center; they want to govern themselves and for meddling government to just get out of the way!

“Governor Rendell’s eight years have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it simply isn’t possible for a state to tax, spend, and borrow its way to prosperity.  The voters have finally had enough, and in January, virtually all the Democratic and Republican leaders who helped push his harmful agenda while failing to make Pennsylvanians’ lives better will be out of power—many of them under indictment and even in prison.

“What remains to be seen, however, is whether Tuesday’s victors govern accordingly or return to the ways of the old.

“Pennsylvania’s governor-elect campaigned on an iron-clad commitment to oppose all tax increases.  In the old Harrisburg, this was deemed outside the bounds of political possibility.  In the new, it must be governing policy.

“Pennsylvanians also elected a governor who made crystal clear that he thinks parents should have the choice to free their children from failing and under-performing schools—after years of just throwing more money at the already expensive and under-performing status quo.  In the old Harrisburg, powerful and self-interested lobbies held such reforms, and children’s futures, hostage.  In the new, we must get them out of the way.

“On issue after issue, the electorate made its will clear.  This means that the campaign promises of reducing spending, privatizing Pennsylvania’s antiquated liquor monopoly, reforming the public pension systems, eliminating wasteful “corporate welfare” spending, and reducing welfare fraud must become a governing reality in Harrisburg. 

“Additionally, sitting lawmakers should heed the mandate from the voters, and reject calls to reconvene for a sine die (lame-duck) legislative session between now and the end of November.  More than a dozen repudiated legislators would be allowed to vote and pass laws, such as the Union Pension Bailout Bill (HB 2497) that would steal billions of dollars from our children and grandchildren under the guise of pension reform.’  Likewise, voters must realize that their job as good citizens does not end with an election.

“That’s why our team at the Commonwealth Foundation stands ready to help any elected official who wants to keep his promises to the people of Pennsylvania.  We will be tracking and reporting on every policy proposal and cabinet appointment to hold our new leaders accountable for turning their campaign promises grounded in limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility into a governing reality.”

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