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10/04/2004

Pennsylvania Republicans Only Tell Half the Truth

This story is unbelievable. Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania recently spent $227,000 in public funds to send out flashy fliers proclaiming that state funding for various services had increased without taxes or fees being increased. Sound impossible? That's because it is.

What the piece failed to mention was that
"Taxes and fees did not go up in 2004-05. But the 2003-04 budget raised the personal income tax rate from 2.8 percent to 3.07 percent, hiked the cigarette tax by 35 cents a pack, imposed a $1 monthly surcharge on cell phones, levied a 5 percent gross receipts tax on cell phone and long-distance companies and more than doubled the fees for birth and death certificates."

In addition
"Libraries did get a 21 percent increase in state aid in 2004-05. But that
followed on the heels of a 30 percent decrease in the 2003-04 budget. Many libraries were forced to cut hours, staff and book buying. Even with the increase, they are below 2002-03 funding levels."

Oh and don't forget this,
"Mass transit funding did increase by 6.6 percent in 2004-05. But the state had not increased funding for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority since 2001. While SEPTA used short-term measures to balance the budget in previous years, it now faces a $62 million deficit and has proposed raising fares by 25 percent and eliminating weekend service."


One of the legislators in question, Chuck McIlhinney defended the use of public funds in such a partisan way by saying,
"I stand behind the need to communicate what happens in Harrisburg. It's the most cost-effective means of communicating."
When asked why, if this where such a good idea, didn't they send out similar fliers last year when taxes where raised and spending on services was slashed, McIlhinney said the 2003-04 budget received "extensive media coverage."

Isn't that just like the "Liberal Press" to give all that media coverage to a state legislature when they raise taxes and cut personal services, but to not say anything at all when the legislature tries to pass off lies as increases in spending on services? Thank goodness they had an extra $227,000 laying around to set everyone straight.

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