Rendell's double-dealing by the Trib's Brad Bumsted: It was one more public relations nightmare for Gov. Ed Rendell. ... Rendell had a secret plan for a commuter income tax.
Only with the legislature's blessing could a commuter income tax be pursued. But the legislature won't bless anything Tom Murphy champions. This plan wasn't solid for the city nor the region. But even if Murphy had figured out how to cure cancer, The Murphy/Rendell/O'Connor plan would not get a reception in Harrisburg.
It's obvious that Rendell and/or the Murphy administration were angling for a loophole in the law. These guys try to wiggle past the letter of the law. And, at the other end of the spectrum are others who would rather value the spirit of the law and do the best things on the basis of a higher calling.
House members insisted on the provision because they don't trust Rendell. (And Tom Murphy too.)
A disaster for Rendell is that his credibility - and his top staff's - was already damaged in negotiations with legislative leaders during the final weekend of the session. Senate Republicans aren't sure how they can deal with Rendell in the future based on how he botched things with what they say was a disorganized agenda with shifting priorities.
Rendell and Tom Murphy are good together. They broke campaign laws together. They spin each other's lies together. A special on the city cable tv shows Rendell giving a big check to the city and Rendell says how he is unaware of anyone in the city raising the white flag and leaving. None. I don't know how he can say that with a straight face.
Stephen MacNett, counsel for Senate Republicans, said he hadn't seen such a poor effort since the tail end of Democrat Gov. Milton Shapp's administration (1971-79.) He called it "a shameful performance by the front office."
Speaking of Comcast, Rendell was demanding a huge annual tax break for cable giant Comcast in Philadelphia.
The flap over the conference call was an example of "what we've been dealing with. He (Rendell) says one thing, then he's running around doing something else.