Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Blame Game

The property-tax reform bill announced just 48 hours ago arrived DOA in the Pennsylvania House.

The Republican majority in the chamber killed the sucker, saying it didn't do enough for enough Pennsylvanians. (read: our constituents at home.)

I think the plan collapsed under the weight of two conflicting needs: the desire to give immediate (as in, before the May 16th primary) relief to senior citizens and the desire to give long-term relief from property taxes to the rest of us.

Using a chunk of estimated $1 billion in slots revenue for seniors left less money for the rest of us. Once legislators focused on that "the rest of us" part of the equation, the bill looked less appealing. See the post below.

Did the House Republicans also have political motives -- i.e. not wanting to give Gov. Rendell bragging points for delivering on his promise of tax reform?

Of course, they did.

As Republican Rep. Gibson Armstrong of Lancaster County told Tom Barnes of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Why should we give Rendell an issue to use against Lynn Swann?"

Now begins the finger-pointing part of the proceedings, with each party trying to pin the blame on the other.

Who wins?

I think Rendell does. He gets to paint the House Republicans as obstructionists unwilling to embrace reform for petty political reasons. He can point to the $1 billion figure and say: that's not tax relief?

He can next point to Swann, saying that he is part of the problem and (have some surrogate) hint that Swann helped torpedo the tax-relief plan in order to help his own (dare we call it foundering?) campaign for governor.

In other words, the Republicans just gave Rendell an issue to use against Lynn Swann.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are totally right....by refusing to even allow a vote, they hurt Swann, not helped him.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the media would make the distinction that this bill would have aided low income seniors. I appreciate that I am fortunate enough to fall outside the income limits, but wish "everyone else" would not look at this old grey head and assume I would benefit.

And, your Is That All There Is post was right on. I blame the legislature, not Rendell.

Anony-miss

2:05 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

I agree the house Rs goofed on this one. Rendell has 15M and counting in the bank and he'll be able to be on TV right up until the election reminding voters of how the Republicans didn't want to give qualifying seniors a property tax break.

And, did we all notice that the Speaker Perzel conveniently disappeared to board meeting in FL while all this was going down?

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One little factoid: That $1 Billion Rendell is talking about isn't here yet. It's also an estimated amount. Could it be that this state (and country) is in economic trouble because we are constantly borrowing against money that isn't there? As far as I am concerned, this wasn't tax relief so much as tax shifting, and I am not interested in either. I (and many others) want true tax reform. These guys better start over and come up with something that works.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One little factoid: That $1 Billion Rendell is talking about isn't here yet. It's also an estimated amount. Could it be that this state (and country) is in economic trouble because we are constantly borrowing against money that isn't there? As far as I am concerned, this wasn't tax relief so much as tax shifting, and I am not interested in either. I (and many others) want true tax reform. These guys better start over and come up with something that works.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

Pray tell, what is "true tax reform" that is not, in the end, some kind of tax shifting?

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, blame the Republicans. We have a governor named Ed Rendell who truly wishes he were king, but he doesn't know how to lead.

Had Rendell put forward a real plan and actually worked for it instead of just playing his little PR games, maybe there would be some type of relief. But he didn't. ANd now he wants to play a blame game. More PR stunts.

That is the true nature of Ed Rendell -- stunts over substance.

School Property taxes total $10 billion. To your commentor who said "that is just shifting..." Of course. Do you think those money needs just disappear? It has to come from somewhere.

This isn't dead. The real criticicm of the House Republicans is that they want to do more. Darn them!

Shame on Rendell for contually doing less. Shame on his contiual antics.

6:38 AM  
Blogger doomsy said...

You can chalk this up to obstructionist tactics by the Republican legislature. And as far as the argument from Sam Smith and others goes that, "we...can do more and we can do better" goes, I ask this; How long is that going to take?

Any gambling revenue to assist most wage earners wouldn't be realized for years. Is that how long it's going to take before these clowns finally decide to do something? Giving senior citizens a break on this is better than nothing.

They sure moved quickly on their 2AM pay raise at the end of the last session, so speed isn't a problem for these characters when the need suits them.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

I watched a bit of Gary Sutton's radio show which was rebroadcast on PCN yesterday. The funniest comment came from a female state rep, didn't catch her name, who said she couldn't possibly have been expected to vote on a "hundred page" bill in so short a time. I'll bet she didn't
have any trouble voting for the budget bill with a nice pay raise at 2AM.

It wasn't like the legislature hasn't been meeting is special session for about 6 months solely
on property taxes.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

For anyone wishing to see a preview of just how effectively Rendell is going to be able to turn this to his advantage, watch the PCN replay of the guv's press conference from Thursday.

If Lynn Swann or Gib Armstrong or any other Republican thinks they are going to be able to blame Rendell, they better rethink that idea right quick

3:28 PM  
Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

Blame the Ds, then blame the Rs. The winners in this folly are the INDEPENDENTS. Clear victory -- Russ Diamond. Clear loosers, Ds and Rs.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

Still waiting to learn what "true tax reform" is as well as what the "more" is the house Republicans keep talking about.

Until then, I will conclude both are nothing more than empty phrases that make a good sound bite.

5:43 AM  

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