Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Libertarian Party says Governor’s budget more of same

Rendell’s budget: higher taxes, more spending, bigger bureaucracies

Harrisburg, PA – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania Research Committee today released its review of Governor Rendell’s proposed 2007 budget.

The review is highly critical of Rendell’s plans to increase spending, raise a number of taxes and extend Harrisburg’s meddling even further into the marketplace and into individual lives.

Ron Satz, Ph.D., the research chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, remarked that, “The governor’s budget proposal accelerates us in the wrong direction. While history shows that small government, low taxes and free enterprise are necessary for prosperity, this budget only gives us higher taxes and more spending on new and expanded Harrisburg government programs.”

Rendell’s budget would increase total state general-fund spending by 3.6% to $27.3 billion. Rendell’s increased spending will be funded by:

* A higher PA sales tax
* A new electricity consumption tax
* A new tax on oil producers and suppliers
* Higher cigarette taxes and new taxes on other forms of tobacco
* A new payroll tax on employers who do not provide employee health care benefits
* Increased municipal solid-waste disposal fees
* Higher taxpayer debt obligations via more state bonds.

Rendell plans to use this money to expand the state government’s involvement in pre-K and primary education as well as health care. Parents, students and health care consumers will pay more yet lose control of these most personal aspects of their private lives.

"This is a bad budget for Pennsylvanians," concluded Satz. "Governor Rendell continues to adopt the failed big-government approach of trying to 'run' Pennsylvania from the top down. The key to reviving Pennsylvania is for Harrisburg to stand aside to let individuals keep more of their money, and let Pennsylvanians’ personal situations and choices target real needs."

The report, which consists of a summary of 18 critical concerns regarding the proposed budget, along with the LPPa's comments and alternatives, is available at the end of this release.

Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in both Pennsylvania and the United States. Nationwide there are over 200,000 registered Libertarians with organizations in all 50 states. Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information.

Pennsylvania Libertarian Party Review of Governor Rendell's Budget Proposals

1. Governor: Increase total state general-fund spending by 3.6% to $27.3 billion.

LPPa: Begin reducing total state general funding spending to ultimately provide for the police, courts, part-time legislature, and one executive department to protect life, liberty, and property. Nothing else.

2. Governor: Increase the state sales tax from 6% to 7% to help provide property tax cuts, along with gambling revenues, of $900 million next year.

LPPa: Eliminate all income taxes and begin reducing the sales tax. Property taxes should be based on the actual cost of protecting buildings and land, not for raising money for schools. Schools should be paid for and controlled at the local level by their users.

3. Governor: Impose a new electricity consumption tax to pay off $850 million in borrowing for alternative power development and energy conservation.

LPPa: Eliminate or reduce regulations on power companies so that they will make private investments to improve energy efficiency based on engineering calculations and not Harrisburg's political calculations.

4. Governor: Increase municipal solid-waste disposal fees by $2.75 per ton for hazardous-waste cleanup.

LPPa: Privatize solid-waste disposal operations and let strict
enforcement of property rights laws address any environmental concerns.

5. Governor: Impose a new tax on oil companies' gross profits and exempt those companies from the state's corporate net income tax.

LPPa: Eliminate all income taxes to promote development. Don't single out an industry, or a single corporation within an industry, with special favors or with special penalties.

6. Governor: Increase the cigarette tax from $1.35 to $1.45 per pack, levy a new tax on other forms of tobacco and impose a new 3% payroll tax on employers who do not provide employee health care benefits.

LPPa: Stop levying special taxes on products the government doesn't like. As all state taxes are reduced on all business and individual, let the free market address health care needs.

7. Governor: Boost overall education spending by 6%.

LPPa: Reduce state-level spending on education and give local school districts more financial and educational control of the schooling of their children including the elimination of financial penalties against private education providers.

8. Governor: Expand accountability block grants for pre-K and kindergarten by $100 million.

LPPa: Let parents decide on pre-K and kindergarten programs for their children instead of mandating a "one-size fits all children" state-government program.

9. Governor: Expand programs for special education students, improve elementary science education, make academic programs in 30 high schools more rigorous and provide laptops.

LPPa: See 7 and 8. Remove barriers to having future job providers get involved with educational providers in the education of young people at no charge to taxpayers.

10. Governor: Ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars.

LPPa: Let private workplaces, restaurants, and bars decide for
themselves whether to have smoke-free areas or not.

11. Governor: Expand by more than 18% an early intervention program for 76,000 children age 5 and younger.

LPPa: No evidence exists for the benefits of such a program. Stop
wasting taxpayer money for the sake of expanding state government!

12. Governor: Increase Corrections Department spending by 13% to handle growth in the state prison population by adding beds and to reduce recidivism by treating substance abuse and better monitoring inmates after they are released.

LPPa: The governor has the constitutional authority to release
through pardon non-violent drug offenders. This eliminates the need for additional spending and replaces expensive incarceration with lower-cost outpatient medical treatment.

13. Governor: Make possession of a stolen gun a felony, require police notification whenever a gun is lost or stolen, let local communities restrict the distribution and use of handguns, and limit gun purchases to one per month.

LPPa: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of
themselves and the State shall not be questioned." Article I, Section 21, PA Constitution.

14. Governor: Establish the "Energy Independence Fund" to pay for such items as conservation initiatives, solar energy, research, research, support for emerging clean-energy products and companies, and purchase of low-power appliances.

LPPa: See 3 and 5 above. Don't let politicians play scientist or engineer.

15. Governor: Seek legislative and voter approval for $850 million in bonds to encourage alternative energy development and energy conservation.

LPPa: See 3 and 5 above. Dont let politicians play scientist or engineer.

16. Governor: Create a $500 million Jonas Salk Legacy Fund to foster biomedical research funded by tobacco settlement revenue.

LPPa: See 3 and 5 above. Don't let politicians play doctor or medical researcher. Tobacco settlement money should only go to those affected by tobacco company fraud, if any. Otherwise the money should be distributed to the all taxpaying citizens of Pennsylvania as hard tax reductions.

17. Governor: Lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private company to raise $965 million for roads and bridges.

LPPa: Sell the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the highest bidder; let them handle the maintenance.

18. Governor: Tax oil companies' gross profits to raise $750 million for mass transit.

LPPa: See 3 and 5 above. Privatize mass transit and don't subsidize it with tax revenues from private industries, especially industries who would be subsidizing their own competition.

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