Remember Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s (D) gutsy move to avoid a “financial tsunami” (yes, his words) in the state?

It’s not going to work. With little fanfare, he pulled the plug on the plan yesterday, calling it “very complex” (that’s government speak for: they’re onto us for cutting tax rates but expanding the tax base) and noting that the plan was “stepping on the toes of a lot of special interests” (that’s government speak for: we pissed the wrong people off). He went on to say that he didn’t “think there’s an appetite to do that this year.” You don’t need a translation for the last bit – we all know it’s an election year.

Rendell has a right to be concerned about the budget. With revenue down, the budget deficit in the state is more than $1 billion. In Harrisburg, they’re reacting the only way they know how: by increasing spending even more. The proposed budget for next year represents a 4% increase in spending but projects revenues to remain low.

Of course, Rendell is likely breathing a sigh of relief. He doesn’t have to be “that guy” who increased sales tax, especially on legal services, thus insuring that somewhere in the state, some law firm will now give Rendell a job come November.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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