Friday, February 20, 2009

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania supports government diet

Libertarian Party of PA calls on Harrisburg to adopt spending cuts cited by the Commonwealth Foundation

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2009

Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS /

The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) today praised the work of the Commonwealth Foundation and endorsed their call for Ed Rendell and the state legislature to adopt the $5 billion in spending cuts identified in their report released last week “Government on a Diet: Spending Tips 2009.” (

Ed Rendell has increased spending more than 35% since taking office in January 2003. Due to the administration’s spending habits, Pennsylvania ranks as the 11th worst state in state and local tax burden. Pennsylvania ranks 40th in job growth and 40th in personal income among the 50 states.

To make matters worse, according to the Governor’s website, we are facing a potential $2.3 billion shortfall for 2008-2009 for which the Governor is hoping for a $1 billion federal bailout to address.

“Harrisburg cannot spend its way to prosperity for Pennsylvania,” stated LPPa Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard. “The Governor and the Assembly should take a serious look at adopting the well thought out recommendations of the Commonwealth Foundation.”

In the report, the Commonwealth Foundation identifies three categories of savings. First, the report identifies over $1.7 billion in potential savings in corporate welfare. Examples include sports stadium financing, subsidizing Hollywood, bailing out Boscov and using tax funds to build an airport (which cargo carriers have expressed no interest in using and in which key players are facing criminal accusations).

Second, the report identifies over $2.5 billion in savings by eliminating government-provided goods that compete directly with private enterprises. For example, in almost all states, the distribution and sale of liquor has been turned over to the private sector.

As another example, other states have received a far better return on taxpayer dollars by leasing their turnpike to a private operator. The PA Turnpike Commission has become a haven of political patronage and nepotism. The PTC increased tolls 25% in January and is racking up massive amounts of debt.

Finally, the report identified almost $700 million in savings by eliminating expenses that work to the detriment of citizens, for the benefit of government officials or reward the misuse of tax dollars. For example, legislative bodies have racked up millions of dollars in legal fees protecting those involved in Bonusgate (which involved misspent millions of taxpayer dollars). Another example involves Governor Rendell hiring his former law form for a $1.8 million no-bid contract to work on the failed Turnpike lease despite hundreds of attorneys already being employed by the state.

Michael Robertson, LPPa State Chair, commented “Unless the spending by the commonwealth can be brought under control, the business climate and ultimately the quality of life in Pennsylvania will deteriorate. The General Assembly and the Governor should learn the lessons from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that bigger is not better when it comes to sound fiscal policy.”

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Pennsylvania and the United States. More than 200,000 people across the country are registered Libertarians, and Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices. Please visit or for more information.

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