Turzai, Policy Committee Members Call for Zero-Growth Budget, Government Accountability
2/4/2008
Recommendations will save taxpayers money, stimulate economy
 
One day before the governor is set to announce his budget plans, House Republican Policy Chairman Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and his colleagues on the Policy Committee called for a zero-growth budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year and unveiled an economic stimulus package designed to improve Pennsylvania’s business climate. The package is designed to make the Commonwealth more competitive in retaining and attracting businesses and creating more family-sustaining jobs. 
 
“Over the past five years, the governor has focused his budget priorities on new taxes, new spending and new borrowing. Last year, his plan would have raised or enacted seven new taxes,” said Turzai. “Today, my colleagues and I call on the governor to rein in the spending and propose a zero-growth budget. We can’t allow Pennsylvania’s hard-working families to be saddled with his ever-increasing appetite for spending.”
 
In just four years’ time under the current administration, spending has increased by more than 29 percent, or $6 billion.
 
Turzai called on the governor to focus on three priorities during the 2008-09 budget process:  rolling back the Personal Income Tax (PIT), enacting the Compete PA Business Tax Relief Package, and cutting the consumer electric bill tax by 50 percent over five years.
 
“These priorities put the focus where it needs to be to move our state forward – on our families who work hard every day,” Turzai said. “Without a competitive business climate, Pennsylvania cannot provide the types of economic development opportunities that are needed. In every corner of the state, we need to keep people working.”
 
Since the governor took office in 2003, Pennsylvania has lost 80,000 manufacturing jobs, including 2,300 iron and steel mill jobs and 6,800 high-tech jobs in computer manufacturing.  Nearly 1,200 manufacturing jobs are lost per month and one factory closes every day.
 
Members of the House Republican Policy Committee believe that spending can be curtailed by taking a close look at the various line items within each of the state’s executive agencies. Members have requested that department secretaries and directors of the agencies identify the five least effective and worst performing programs within their respective departments, as well as a list of discretionary spending items, by April 15. Each executive agency would be required to identify areas where they could cut spending by 5 percent to 10 percent and present a plan on how they intend to act on those cuts. 
 
In addition to an economic stimulus package, Turzai and his colleagues called on the governor to put a limit on the borrowing he has used in every budget since 2003.
 
“In his first term, Rendell enacted five borrowing initiatives, totaling $3.15 billion, which will cost the taxpayers of Pennsylvania $4.761 billion to pay back in principal, interest and fees,” Turzai noted. “Already in his second term, he has proposed additional borrowing in the amount of $1.85 billion. That would amount to almost $3.1 billion in principal, interest and fees. If we continue to borrow and spend at the rate of this governor’s appetite, future generations of Pennsylvanians will be hard pressed to pay their bills.
 
“We need to put money back into the pockets of hard-working taxpayers and making Pennsylvania a friendly environment for employers to maintain and create family sustaining jobs,” he continued. “We eagerly anticipate the governor’s budget address tomorrow and are hopeful that he puts the priorities of Pennsylvania where they need to be.”
 
Those speaking at today’s event included Craig Dally (R-Northampton), Brian Ellis (R-Butler), Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster), Jerry Stern (R-Huntingdon), Dick Stevenson (R-Mercer/Butler), Scott Perry (R-York/Cumberland) and Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean).
 
Rep. Mike Turzai
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(412) 369-2230
www.RepTurzai.com
Contact: Jennifer Keaton
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 705-2094
www.pahousegop.com