Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Will GOP hold the line on taxes?

Veteran Harrisburg reporter Brad Bumsted does a good job of getting to the heart of the current stalemate between Gov. Rendell and his doormat House Democrats versus the Republican-controlled Senate.

Rendell and Democratic leaders want to raise the state income tax by 16 percent to make up for the $3.2 billion deficit Rendell ran up this year.

Senate Republicans (and their House counterparts) say they will not support any new taxes.

What's at stake is control of the Legislature in 2010 and beyond. Rendell is a lame duck. What he wants doesn't matter.

If Senate Republicans cave on the tax issue, they lose all credibility with voters and Democrats will chip away at the GOP's 30-20 majority.

If even one of the 99 Republicans in the House caves on the tax issue, Republicans will become a permanent minority.

Voters are angry. Angry about runaway spending. Angry about the state's economic woes, brought on largely by Rendell's failed policies.

Voters changed 1 in 3 members of the House over the past two election cycles since the infamous pay raise vote in 2005. If House members give in to Rendell and approve a tax hike, expect another large-scale voter revolt in 2010.

That's what Busted thinks, too.

From his latest column in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Will the GOP hold the line?

Are we in for a replay of the 1991 budget battle under then-Gov. Robert P. Casey when it took until mid-August to round up the votes for an income tax hike?

That began as an effort to close a $1 billion deficit. In the end, the tax hike was almost $3 billion. About $2 billion in additional spending bought members' tax votes. Hundreds of millions went for increased program spending sought by Democrat lawmakers, along with millions for their pet projects.

But the bigger question comes if the full Legislature acquiesces to Rendell and goes along with a tax increase. With the 2005 pay-jacking outrage still fresh in the minds of many, will a full-scale public revolt be next?
Read the full column, "Rendell's tax hike shell game," at the newspaper's Web site.

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