Not exactly a stellar record of accomplishment, but Rendell conned enough Pennsylvania voters to give him a second term.
What will Rendell's second term be remembered for? He still has two years to go, but Pennsylvania is facing a historic budget deficit. The state budget is expected to finish $2.3 billion in the red by June and the next fiscal year is downright apocalyptic with the state facing a $5 billion to $6 billion revenue shortfall.
What is Gov. Rendell's solution to the problem he largely created with uncontrolled spending over the past six years? It appears that he will ask the federal government for a handout and make up the rest by expanding gambling in Pennsylvania.
Rendell wants to legalize video poker machines, according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The selling point for expanded gambling is "tuition assistance" for working families in Pennsylvania.
You'll recall Rendell sold the initial foray into slots by promising "substantial property tax relief" for all Pennsylvania taxpayers. That hasn't happened in the nearly five years since gambling was approved by the Legislature.
Pennsylvania homeowners are paying higher property taxes today than they did when Rendell took office in 2003. Whatever minor reduction in taxes homeowners saw in 2008 will be eaten up shortly by another round of tax hike by local school boards.
From the Tribune-Review:
Critics in the Legislature say providing tuition relief is a laudable goal, but legalizing video poker machines is an expansion of slot machine gambling.Rendell may have fooled enough lawmakers in 2004 when he won approval to bring 71,000 slot machines to Pennsylvania, but don't bet on Fast Eddie pulling another fast one on the current Legislature.
"The reality of it is, they are slot machines," said Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery County. "We're being barbaric. We're going into neighborhoods with gambling when we don't have gambling under control."
If the administration's logic is that it's OK to legalize practices that take place illegally, said Republican Rep. Doug Reichley of Allentown, "The Chicken Ranch in Reno, Nev., is looking forward to the day we open prostitution in the Capitol."
Through the Local Law Enforcement Grant Program, the state recently spent more than $3 million to combat illegal slots and video poker machines.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS