This will mean four more years of rising taxes, runaway spending and an overall decline in the standard of living for most Pennsylvanians. Are you better off today than you were four years ago when Rendell took office?
If you're still thinking of voting for Rendell, consider the following 33 reasons why Rendell does not deserve re-election:
1) Rendell signed the scandalous July 2005 pay raise bill into law and praised it as "good legislation." That breach of public trust alone is reason enough to deny Rendell another term.
2) While running for governor in 2002, Rendell promised to cut property taxes for every Pennsylvania homeowner by 30 percent. He failed to keep his promise for four consecutive years.
3) In 2003, Rendell signed the biggest income tax increase in the state's history, taking away $1 billion from the paychecks of working Pennsylvanians.
4) Rendell signed the worst gambling bill in the nation into law in July 2004, clearing the way for 61,000 slot machines to be brought into Pennsylvania, along with crime, corruption and gambling addiction.
5) State spending has increased at twice the rate of inflation under Rendell to a staggering $26.1 billion in a state where population growth is stagnant. People familiar with state finances predict that Rendell will propose another massive tax hike in 2007 to pay for his exorbitant spending.
6) Under Rendell, Pennsylvania ranks at the bottom of the list of states when it comes to forcing people off welfare rolls and into jobs.
7) Rendell siphoned $412 million in federal highway money in 2005 to keep SEPTA afloat so Philadelphia transit workers will continue to get paid and keep voting for Rendell. Meanwhile, the state’s highways and bridges are crumbling.
8) Instead of property tax reform, Rendell signed Act 72 in 2005 and Act 1 in 2006, two terrible bills that failed to address runaway spending by the state’s 501 school districts.
9) Rendell raided the state Lottery fund to come up with the $200 million for rebate scheme to bribe low-income seniors into voting for him this November instead of working for real property tax reform.
10) Rendell killed the Schuylkill Valley Metro rail plan by failing to support the project or making the case for the state to come up with its share of the funding needed to build it.
11) Rendell imposed the $52-a-year emergency services tax on most of the state's workers. In almost every case, the money did not go to fund "emergency services," but was spent elsewhere by local governments. It's a typical shell game Rendell plays with taxes.
12) Nearly 1 million working Pennsylvanians do not have health insurance coverage and Rendell refuses to support legislation that would level the playing field for the huge "for-profit" insurance companies operating in Pennsylvania.
13) Pennsylvania continues to be the No. 1 importer of garbage in the country. Rendell believes that taking in garbage from New York City, New Jersey and Puerto Rico is a good use of Pennsylvania land.
14) In each of Rendell's first four years in office, truckers have ranked Pennsylvania roads and highways as the worst in the nation.
15) According to FBI statistics, Pennsylvania has become a more dangerous place to live in the years Rendell has been governor. The murder rates in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading and most other cities have reached historic highs and the governor continues to ignore the rise in violent crime.
16) College-educated young people are fleeing the state in record numbers to find good jobs as Pennsylvania fails to address the "brain drain" under Rendell.
17) Pennsylvania leads the nation in teacher strikes, another sorry achievement for the so-called "education governor."
18) A task force formed by Rendell reports that Pennsylvania is experiencing a transportation crisis. The state's infrastructure has been neglected to the point where roads can no longer handle the volume of traffic. The state’s transit systems have failed. Pennsylvania needs to come up with an additional $2.2 billion a year to deal with the problem.
19) Corporate welfare is Rendell's idea of stimulating the economy, with millions of taxpayer dollars going to build sports stadiums and support corporations that contribute to Rendell's campaign.
20) Rendell vetoed the Voter Protection Act of 2006, a bill that would prevent voter fraud in Pennsylvania in general and in Philadelphia in particular.
21) Rendell broke his promise to sign a tort reform bill that would control outrageous awards by juries and help keep doctors in Pennsylvania. Less than 10 percent of doctors educated in Pennsylvania stay in the state because of skyrocketing malpractice premiums.
22) Rendell gave political crony Joe Hoeffel a cushy $104,000-a-year state job as payback for Hoeffel dropping out of the race for lieutenant governor in 2006.
23) Pennsylvania is among the biggest spenders for public education, but test scores consistently rank among the lowest in the country. And what about the revolving door in the Education Department? Rendell went through three education secretaries in three years.
24) Rendell brought the "pay to play" system he nurtured in Philadelphia to Harrisburg, turning the governor's office into a Turkish bazaar, with the highest bidder having access to government. How else do you explain the $30 million in campaign contributions to Rendell?
25) Pennsylvania consistently ranks in the bottom rung of states when it comes to a business-friendly business environment. Rendell vetoed a Republican-backed measure to lower the state's corporate net income tax, which is the second highest in the nation.
26) Rendell has pardoned more convicted criminals in his first three years in office than any other Pennsylvania governor has done over the same time frame in the past 25 years.
27) Despite amassing a $1 billion budget surplus this year because of the 2003 income tax hike, Rendell refused to consider returning any of the money to taxpayers.
28) Rendell wants to impose California emissions standards in Pennsylvania, forcing motorists to pay higher inspection fees. More than 40 states have rejected the California rules.
29) In four years, Rendell has missed the constitutional deadline to sign the state budget four times.
30) It's unseemly for the governor to moonlight as a football analyst after Eagles games. If Rendell wants a career in broadcasting, he should give up the governor's job.
31) Rendell has used a state plane to shuttle from his shore home in Ocean City, N.J., to campaign events back in Pennsylvania at least a half-dozen times.
32) If Rendell wins re-election and decides to leave office in 2008 to take a post in Washington under a Democratic administration, Pennsylvania is left with Catherine Baker Knoll as governor.
33) Rendell insulted millions of Pennsylvania seniors by saying their lives are drab without casinos. Seniors should make Rendell pay for his insensitive remarks.
Tony Phyrillas is a columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa. Email him at email@example.com