Thursday, January 31, 2008

Group: Pennsylvania needs a spending diet

In anticipation of Gov. Ed Rendell's 2008-09 budget address on Feb. 5, the Commonwealth Foundation has released a report detailing $6.7 billion in spending cuts.

Rendell recently warned that Pennsylvania is facing tough economic times and the surpluses the state has enjoyed in recent years will vanish.

Will Rendell, a notorious spending glutton, heed his own warning and tighten state spending? Unlikely. But if he wants to trim the fat from Pennsylvania government, the Commonwealth Foundation has some tips to put government on a spending diet.

"Spending Tips 2008 highlights some of Harrisburg's most wasteful spending of taxpayer money," says Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "With the spending of billions of taxpayer money on non-core government programs, we want the citizens of our Commonwealth to be more aware of how state government is misusing and abusing their hard-earned tax dollars. We hope lawmakers use this report as a means to help focus government spending only on those core government functions that truly serve the public good."

Spending Tips 2008, co-authored by Nathan Benefield, Jessica Runk, and Matthew Brouillette, identifies a total of $6.7 billion in spending cuts—$1.2 billion from the state General Fund Budget, $1.2 billion from other operating funds, and $4.2 billion from the capital budget and off-budget programs, according to a news release issued by the Foundation.

If eliminated and returned to the taxpayers, the average family of four in Pennsylvania would realize a $2,100 reduction in their share of the cost of state government, the Foundation claims.

Spending Tips 2008 is part of the Commonwealth Foundation's Pennsylvania Diet Plan: 3 Steps to Fiscal & Economic Health, a program designed to help state government shed millions and billions of dollars in unnecessary and wasteful spending of taxpayer money and put the commonwealth back on a path toward fiscal and economic health, according to the Foundation.

For more on the Pennsylvania Diet Plan, visit

The full report, Government on a Diet: Spending Tips 2008, is available online at or call 717-671-1901 or e-mail for a copy.

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