FOR July 5, 2005 from: Kathryn English, 717.541.5000
Pennsylvania Club for Growth Challenges GOP Leaders to "just say NO"
What happened to the Pro-Growth Agenda for PA
HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Club for Growth challenges all General Assembly members to say NO, not only to the $24 billion proposed budget but NO to their own 14% pay increase.
The PA Club and its members are somewhat confused by the recent embrace of lower taxes and limited government by the General Assembly GOP leadership, yet with a 110 to 93 republican majority it is rumored that not only will Governor Rendell get his $23.8 billion budget passed but it will be increased to approximately $24 billion, an estimated 4.8% increase will be approved in the late evening tonight. It was this same leadership in 2004 that not only passed a budget that was more than double the rate of inflation, but even upped Gov. Rendell’s spending plan by $160 million more.
PA Club for Growth Executive Director Kathryn English is questioning, “what happened to House Bill 1663 sponsored by Rep. Feese and co-sponsored by 81 Pennsylvania Representatives, including 5 of the 7 House Majority leaders?" House bill 1663 would constitutionally limit annual increases in state spending to the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index, this year limiting spending to 2.8%. "Although not ideal this is far better than the approximately 4.9% proposed increase" stated English.
To add insult to injury for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, the General Assembly is considering voting themselves a $10,000 or 14% increase to increase base salary to $79,647. In January, legislators already received an automatic annual cost-of-living increase of $3,700 – more than 5%. In addition to their salaries, most state lawmakers receive $128 a day in expense money when they are in Harrisburg and each member may charge up to nearly $8,000 a year for auto expense.
"What happened to Senator Brightbill’s “Taxpayer Fairness Act," introduced this spring with the co-sponsorship of 28 of Pennsylvania’s 50 Senators,” questioned English, and added “if 28 of the 50 Senators sponsored legislation that allowed for only a 2.7% increase in budget, how did the Senate pass an approximately 4.9% budget increase?”
"While we hope this package of bills represented a true change of heart on the part of GOP leadership, the Senates (30 Republicans – 20 Democrats) approval of Governor Rendell's proposed budget and the expected House passage is in a conflict with the previous proposed legislation. English added, "We'll be watching to see how the sponsors and co-sponsors of House Bill 1663 vote, not only on the proposed budget, but their own pay increase."
The Pennsylvania Club for Growth, which supports strong fiscal conservatives who run for the state legislature, will continue to work with lawmakers to move forward a pro-growth agenda that includes tax cuts and other smaller government issues. "Our goal is to either reform or remove RINOs (Republicans In Name Only)," said English. "If the GOP leadership — with huge margins in both houses of the legislature — doesn't start giving more than lip-service to fiscal conservativism, they can expect the Club and its members to start working toward their early retirement."
The Pennsylvania Club for Growth is a group of citizens dedicated to expanding the prosperity of working families through the Reagan Doctrine of lower taxes, smaller government and strong free enterprise. As the Pennsylvania chapter for a rapidly growing national organization, we are committed to seeing that Pennsylvanians regain their voice in Pennsylvania politics. For far too long, elected officials who claim to be fiscal conservatives have cast aside their beliefs to partake in a bloated government that insists on taking more and more from families trying to achieve the American Dream. To that end, the Pennsylvania Club for Growth is committed to supporting and electing men and women who are advocates of the Reagan Doctrine. For more information, log on to www.paclubforgrowth.org.