While Pennsylvanians obviously want an environmentally safe and economically prosperous state, the $625 million debt plan known as “Growing Greener II” guarantees neither.
FOUR BASIC FLAWS OF GROWING GREENER II
- GGII is silent on how taxpayers will pay off this new debt.
- GGII does not spell out which specific programs will be funded.
- GGII’s gives government bureaucrats the greatest say in directing our commonwealth’s economic and environmental development, instead of individual citizens and businesses.
- GGII ignores better policy options that could provide the same economic and environmental improvements, without further burdening Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.
GROWING GREENER II WILL LEAD TO HIGHER TAXES
- Adding hundreds of millions of dollars in debt will further harm Pennsylvania’s already-inhospitable business climate.
- New or increased taxes or fees will almost certainly be needed to pay for the borrowing plan.
- Nothing prevents state officials from raising taxes or fees at some future date to fund the debt service.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO? NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE Although Gov. Rendell has argued that Pennsylvanians will know “the basic programs in which the money will be spent,” voters are, in effect, being asked to give the state a $625 million “gift certificate” that the General Assembly will decide how to specifically spend later on. ALTERNATIVES TO GROWING GREENER II Growing Greener II ignores policy options that could improve the commonwealth’s environment without expanding the size and scope of government or increasing the taxpayers’ debt burden.
- Eliminating the state’s inheritance tax, which compels so many farmers to sell their land to developers, rather than pass it on to family members, would relieve the “pressure” many farm families feel to sell their land to developers.
- Fix the crime, tax, and educational problems in many Pennsylvania cities that pushes families with children out into the suburbs.
- Local, private and non-profit conservation groups should also take the lead in preserving land that they don’t want developed, not state government. There is no reason why tax dollars spent on land preservation could not instead remain with individuals, who could then donate their own money voluntarily for that purpose.
- Entities that abandoned mines, damaged creeks and streams, and polluted industrial sites—not taxpayers—should bear the primary responsibility for environmental remediation.
- Existing funds could be re-directed from the state’s ineffective corporate welfare programs, if such remediation efforts truly require statewide taxpayer support.