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Author Topic: Why Am I Not Suprised: Gov. Rendell Strikes Again!!  (Read 9257 times)
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« on: March 28, 2004, 04:59:57 pm »
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Rendell's mansion costs not part of budget cuts
           
By Brad Bumsted and Debra Erdley
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, March 28, 2004

HARRISBURG -- Gov. Ed Rendell's belt-tightening didn't start at home.

The cost of operating the governor's official residence increased 6.7 percent -- from $1,021,558 under Republican Gov. Mark Schweiker in 2002 to $1,089,773 under Rendell in 2003, according to records released by the governor's office.

The totals include spending for maintenance, staff salaries, operating the mansion, utilities, food and catering.

Facing what he described as a $2 billion deficit last year, Rendell, a Democrat, repeatedly took credit for cutting general government operations costs across the board by 10 percent.





Those cuts, however, didn't apply to the 32-room Georgian mansion known as the Governor's Residence, where Rendell lives with his wife, Marjorie, a federal appeals court judge.

State taxpayers have shelled out $5.6 million since 2000 to house and feed three governors and their families and to pay for official functions, maintenance and repairs, records show. Operation, maintenance and food cost an average of $1,068,029 a year over the past four years.

Only six states do not provide official governors' residences: California, Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to the National Governors Association.

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., said cost-cutting should include governors' mansions when states face deficits, as most did last year. "It would be a good example to send for the state," Schatz said.

In Florida, taxpayers spent $377,110 in fiscal year 2002-03 for all costs for operating the mansion in Tallahassee, including laundry, postage and food, a full-time staff of six and some temporary employees, said John Kuczwanski, spokesman for the state's Department of Management Services.

The cost of running the New York mansion in Albany in 2002-03 was $412,261. That included salaries for a staff of 10, according to New York's Office of General Services.

Pennsylvania's mansion, which opened in 1968, has a staff of 15, including two chefs.

Rendell said he is suspect of comparisons to other states because the totals might include different costs. In reference to Ohio's stated annual mansion food budget of $14,000, Rendell said, "Not on your life." Pennsylvania's average annual cost for food and catering was $103,600 during the past four years, records show.

Rendell previously told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he has been a "bear on costs" and last month produced figures showing his food and catering costs were less than Schweiker's. That came in response to a Feb. 15 Trib story disclosing the governor had spent $75,918 on food and catering over 11 months of 2003.

Indeed, Rendell's 12-month food and catering costs, $90,307, were lower than Schweiker's $126,196, primarily because catering costs were cut.

The overall mansion costs are a different story. Those figures weren't available when the Trib published the Feb. 15 food story.

In response to a Right to Know law request filed by the Trib, Rendell recently released figures that show the cost of running the mansion in 2003 were higher than Schweiker's in 2002, lower than what former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge spent in 2001 and higher than Ridge's spending in 2000.

Schweiker, former lieutenant governor, took office in October 2001 after Ridge joined the Bush administration to oversee homeland security.

The main factors driving up costs in 2003 were increased personnel costs, a sharp jump in utility bills, buildings and ground maintenance, housekeeping expenses and transition costs for the new governor, said David Myers, deputy chief of staff to Rendell.

"We really believe very strongly that 2001 is a far more valid comparison" than 2002, Myers said. Total operating, maintenance and food costs decreased from $1,136,618 in 2001 to $1,089,773 in 2003, a drop of 4.1 percent.

Myers maintained that 2001 was a far more typical year than 2002. "The residence was used much more actively in 2001," Myers said. The governor's office says mansion costs, when adjusted for inflation, decreased about 8 percent from 2001 to 2003.

Myers' premise is that the mansion was used less by Schweiker in 2002; therefore, Rendell's cost increase wasn't a significant one.

Schweiker and his family didn't move in until March 2002. Schweiker's family spent that summer at the beach and moved to Bucks County in the fall of 2002, when school started, Myers said. Schweiker stayed behind to close down operations, according to Myers.

There also were major "lifestyle differences," Myers said. Schweiker would put in his work day at the Capitol, while "this governor meets with people until 10 o'clock at night" at the mansion, Myers said.

Lucy Gnazzo, former chief of staff and press secretary to First Lady Michele Ridge and later special adviser to both Govs. Ridge and Schweiker, said, "Knowing as much as I do in terms of all operations, I don't think it's fair to try to come up with a number, a cost, and pin it to the governor and first lady and family. A lot of events are part of the operational costs. There are business meetings, dinners and a lot of significant activity. There are anywhere from 300 to 500 meetings and events per year."

The number of events held at the mansion also increased in 2003, Myers said.

"We've tried to make it much more of the people's house," Rendell said in a March 16 interview.

Rendell says using the mansion to entertain businesses considering an expansion in Pennsylvania is a valuable economic development tool. "One deal a year would cover the cost of the residence," Rendell said.

Preservation and advisory committees over the years have raised private money to help pay for interior and exterior improvement.

"Remember, we've had this (mansion) for seven governors," Rendell said. "I inherited it. I didn't ask for it."

Brad Bumsted can be reached at bbumsted@tribweb.com or (717) 787-1405. Debra Erdley can be reached at derdley@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7996.

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« Last Edit: March 28, 2004, 05:00:52 pm by supersoulty »Logged

JohnFKennedy
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2004, 05:02:30 pm »
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hey supersoulty, you got privacy on aim or just not online? if privacy, add me - americanrejectaa
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CTguy
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2004, 02:06:15 pm »
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You are obviously in denial about living in a democratic state.  Perhaps you'd like Alabama better.
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2004, 02:13:20 pm »
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You're right, CT.  Pennsylvania is so solidly Democrat that they elected Rick Santorum to the Senate.  Then, they re-elected him!  Along with Arlen Specter and a majority Republican congressional delegation, and had a Republican governor until last election.  Wow, how much more liberal than that can you get?.

Oh wow, idiot.  Connecticut has a majority Republican House Delegation too and a Republican Gov. too...  I guess that makes it a Republican state too.   And Maine has two Republican senators, I guess it is ultra-conservative...  Blowhard.
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2004, 02:37:51 pm »
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Rendell's mansion costs not part of budget cuts
           
By Brad Bumsted and Debra Erdley
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, March 28, 2004

HARRISBURG -- Gov. Ed Rendell's belt-tightening didn't start at home.

The cost of operating the governor's official residence increased 6.7 percent -- from $1,021,558 under Republican Gov. Mark Schweiker in 2002 to $1,089,773 under Rendell in 2003, according to records released by the governor's office.

The totals include spending for maintenance, staff salaries, operating the mansion, utilities, food and catering.

Facing what he described as a $2 billion deficit last year, Rendell, a Democrat, repeatedly took credit for cutting general government operations costs across the board by 10 percent.





Those cuts, however, didn't apply to the 32-room Georgian mansion known as the Governor's Residence, where Rendell lives with his wife, Marjorie, a federal appeals court judge.

State taxpayers have shelled out $5.6 million since 2000 to house and feed three governors and their families and to pay for official functions, maintenance and repairs, records show. Operation, maintenance and food cost an average of $1,068,029 a year over the past four years.

Only six states do not provide official governors' residences: California, Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to the National Governors Association.

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., said cost-cutting should include governors' mansions when states face deficits, as most did last year. "It would be a good example to send for the state," Schatz said.

In Florida, taxpayers spent $377,110 in fiscal year 2002-03 for all costs for operating the mansion in Tallahassee, including laundry, postage and food, a full-time staff of six and some temporary employees, said John Kuczwanski, spokesman for the state's Department of Management Services.

The cost of running the New York mansion in Albany in 2002-03 was $412,261. That included salaries for a staff of 10, according to New York's Office of General Services.

Pennsylvania's mansion, which opened in 1968, has a staff of 15, including two chefs.

Rendell said he is suspect of comparisons to other states because the totals might include different costs. In reference to Ohio's stated annual mansion food budget of $14,000, Rendell said, "Not on your life." Pennsylvania's average annual cost for food and catering was $103,600 during the past four years, records show.

Rendell previously told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he has been a "bear on costs" and last month produced figures showing his food and catering costs were less than Schweiker's. That came in response to a Feb. 15 Trib story disclosing the governor had spent $75,918 on food and catering over 11 months of 2003.

Indeed, Rendell's 12-month food and catering costs, $90,307, were lower than Schweiker's $126,196, primarily because catering costs were cut.

The overall mansion costs are a different story. Those figures weren't available when the Trib published the Feb. 15 food story.

In response to a Right to Know law request filed by the Trib, Rendell recently released figures that show the cost of running the mansion in 2003 were higher than Schweiker's in 2002, lower than what former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge spent in 2001 and higher than Ridge's spending in 2000.

Schweiker, former lieutenant governor, took office in October 2001 after Ridge joined the Bush administration to oversee homeland security.

The main factors driving up costs in 2003 were increased personnel costs, a sharp jump in utility bills, buildings and ground maintenance, housekeeping expenses and transition costs for the new governor, said David Myers, deputy chief of staff to Rendell.

"We really believe very strongly that 2001 is a far more valid comparison" than 2002, Myers said. Total operating, maintenance and food costs decreased from $1,136,618 in 2001 to $1,089,773 in 2003, a drop of 4.1 percent.

Myers maintained that 2001 was a far more typical year than 2002. "The residence was used much more actively in 2001," Myers said. The governor's office says mansion costs, when adjusted for inflation, decreased about 8 percent from 2001 to 2003.

Myers' premise is that the mansion was used less by Schweiker in 2002; therefore, Rendell's cost increase wasn't a significant one.

Schweiker and his family didn't move in until March 2002. Schweiker's family spent that summer at the beach and moved to Bucks County in the fall of 2002, when school started, Myers said. Schweiker stayed behind to close down operations, according to Myers.

There also were major "lifestyle differences," Myers said. Schweiker would put in his work day at the Capitol, while "this governor meets with people until 10 o'clock at night" at the mansion, Myers said.

Lucy Gnazzo, former chief of staff and press secretary to First Lady Michele Ridge and later special adviser to both Govs. Ridge and Schweiker, said, "Knowing as much as I do in terms of all operations, I don't think it's fair to try to come up with a number, a cost, and pin it to the governor and first lady and family. A lot of events are part of the operational costs. There are business meetings, dinners and a lot of significant activity. There are anywhere from 300 to 500 meetings and events per year."

The number of events held at the mansion also increased in 2003, Myers said.

"We've tried to make it much more of the people's house," Rendell said in a March 16 interview.

Rendell says using the mansion to entertain businesses considering an expansion in Pennsylvania is a valuable economic development tool. "One deal a year would cover the cost of the residence," Rendell said.

Preservation and advisory committees over the years have raised private money to help pay for interior and exterior improvement.

"Remember, we've had this (mansion) for seven governors," Rendell said. "I inherited it. I didn't ask for it."

Brad Bumsted can be reached at bbumsted@tribweb.com or (717) 787-1405. Debra Erdley can be reached at derdley@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7996.

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Here in Michigan the republicans who control the state house and senate tried to sell the governors house on Mackinac Island worth 1.5 million, claiming everything needed to be cut, but the real reason was they hate Granholm and she told them they need to take a pay cut.
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2004, 02:54:57 pm »
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Quote
And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Would you like to call the latter two Democrats so we could lose our majority in the Senate?  Would ya?  Would that make you feel better to have Tom Dashle as majority leader again?

*sarcasm*
Boy.. sure glad we would have Tom Daschle as majority leader and wouldn't have to have those dang moderate Republicans hanging around.. whew.  Then, all us evil moderate Republicans could start holding our nose and voting for John Kerry - is that what you want?
*end sarcasm*

Well, you can feel free to call Gov. Rowland a Democrat Smiley

Senators Snowe and Collins are better Republicans than you'll ever be, you little snot.

The difference is that Pennsylvania has all of these things, while the states you cited have only some of them.  I also never said Pennsylvania was a Republican state, I just said it wasn't Democratic.  It is a swing state, plain and simple.

There you have it, that Yale degree is really paying off.

And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2004, 03:27:40 pm »
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The difference is that Pennsylvania has all of these things, while the states you cited have only some of them.  And none of those people are RICK "I'LL BEAT YOU WITH MY FREAKING BIBLE" SANTORUM!

I also never said Pennsylvania was a Republican state, I just said it wasn't Democratic.  It is a swing state, plain and simple.

There you have it, that Yale degree is really paying off.

And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Uh no, you obviously missed the whole post.  Saying PA has everything CT or Maine has is bullsh*t...  wait no it's B-U-L-L-S-H-*-T!!!  Gov. Rendell is a Democrat, Rowland is a Republican...  

And no, calling Rowland a Republican is not a stretch.  He is considered a far-right Republican by CT standards and is much more conservative than any of our congressmen.

Again, your post was complete BULLSH*T.
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2004, 03:30:45 pm »
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And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Well, you can feel free to call Gov. Rowland a Democrat Smiley

Quote

That's Bull.  Rowland is not even close to a democrat.  He has twice vetoed a millionaires tax and he is against abortion and civil unions for gays.  He is not only a Republican he is a far right Republican by Connecticut standards.  That is why he will be impeached within a few months.  
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2004, 03:37:37 pm »
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Quote
And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Well, you can feel free to call Gov. Rowland a Democrat Smiley

Quote

That's Bull.  Rowland is not even close to a democrat.  He has twice vetoed a millionaires tax and he is against abortion and civil unions for gays.  He is not only a Republican he is a far right Republican by Connecticut standards.  That is why he will be impeached within a few months.  


are you saying they will impeach him because he's a republican, last time i checked being a republican isn't a impeachable offense
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2004, 04:24:14 pm »
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And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Well, you can feel free to call Gov. Rowland a Democrat Smiley

Quote

That's Bull.  Rowland is not even close to a democrat.  He has twice vetoed a millionaires tax and he is against abortion and civil unions for gays.  He is not only a Republican he is a far right Republican by Connecticut standards.  That is why he will be impeached within a few months.  


are you saying they will impeach him because he's a republican, last time i checked being a republican isn't a impeachable offense

If he was a democrat he wouldn't be impeached since impeachment is left up to the legislature which is more than 2 to 1 democratic controlled.  And that is after Republican gerrymandering, meaning the democrats in the legislature are extremely liberal and hate Rowland very much.  They are doing all this bells and whistles crap but it is obvious Rowland will be impeached fast because he has no allies.
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2004, 04:40:39 pm »
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CT,

I know Rendell is a Democrat.  My point was that Penn. has recently had Republican Governors (Schweiker and Ridge).  As recently as two years ago, all three major statewide offices were held by Republicans.

Calling Rowland a far right Republican "by Connecticut Standards" is so insanely stupid there aren't even words for it.  That is like saying that Himmler was really a moderate by Nazi standards.  By "Connecticut standards" Chris Dodd is a moderate statesman and Chris Shays is a Buchanan Brigadier.

You don't know anything about Rowland or probably any of the other Republicans you are speaking of.  Rowland is far right for Connecticut... very far right!  83% of Connecticut voters are pro-choice yet he is pro-life.  He is against gun control even though to most CT voters the NRA is considered a raving bunch of lunatics.  He is against civil unions and said he might support a state ban on gay marriages even though residents oppose that by a 2-1 margin.  He vetoed a millionaires tax that was overwhelmingly approved by the state legislature and had over 80% support from voters...

And the list goes on and on.  Yes Rowland is a far right republican by Connecticut.  And by Connecticut standards I am a moderate.  You just have no idea what you are commenting on.
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2004, 05:38:22 pm »
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The difference is that Pennsylvania has all of these things, while the states you cited have only some of them.  And none of those people are RICK "I'LL BEAT YOU WITH MY FREAKING BIBLE" SANTORUM!

I also never said Pennsylvania was a Republican state, I just said it wasn't Democratic.  It is a swing state, plain and simple.

There you have it, that Yale degree is really paying off.

And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Uh no, you obviously missed the whole post.  Saying PA has everything CT or Maine has is bullsh*t...  wait no it's B-U-L-L-S-H-*-T!!!  Gov. Rendell is a Democrat, Rowland is a Republican...  

And no, calling Rowland a Republican is not a stretch.  He is considered a far-right Republican by CT standards and is much more conservative than any of our congressmen.

Again, your post was complete BULLSH*T.

And the only reason that we don't have a Republican gov in this state is because we ran a weak candidate.
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2004, 06:30:00 pm »
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Just like Toomey will be when he loses...  and the only reason Bush lost was...?  Because he was a weak candidate?  ahaha, yes.
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2004, 07:12:23 pm »
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One of these days, we won't have to hold our nose anymore.  There will come a time when moderation shall prevail and things will smell sweeter Smiley

Quote
And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

Would you like to call the latter two Democrats so we could lose our majority in the Senate?  Would ya?  Would that make you feel better to have Tom Dashle as majority leader again?

*sarcasm*
Boy.. sure glad we would have Tom Daschle as majority leader and wouldn't have to have those dang moderate Republicans hanging around.. whew.  Then, all us evil moderate Republicans could start holding our nose and voting for John Kerry - is that what you want?
*end sarcasm*

Well, you can feel free to call Gov. Rowland a Democrat Smiley

Senators Snowe and Collins are better Republicans than you'll ever be, you little snot.

The difference is that Pennsylvania has all of these things, while the states you cited have only some of them.  I also never said Pennsylvania was a Republican state, I just said it wasn't Democratic.  It is a swing state, plain and simple.

There you have it, that Yale degree is really paying off.

And calling Gov. Rowland, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins Republicans is a bit of a stretch.

When Snowe and Collins vote to cut my taxes or stop pissing away money on bridges named after Robert C. Byrd, I'll call them real Republicans.  Until then, I appreciate their vote to our majority, but not much else.

And don't hold your nose and vote for Kerry.  Instead, hold your nose and vote for Bush, you RINO.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2004, 07:14:44 pm by htmldon »Logged
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2004, 07:28:45 pm »
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Isn't RINO far worse of an insult? Smiley

You insulted the Republicanism of two of the greatest people to ever serve in the U.S. Senate.  They are Republicans in a state that they could easily get elected as Democrats in.  Their loyalty is unquestioned by anyone who really knows them.  I am a rather partisan individual, so pardon me if I get a little protective of my fellow Republicans.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2004, 07:31:03 pm by htmldon »Logged
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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2004, 07:29:56 pm »
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CT you ignorant slut.

I never said Rowland wasn't conservative by Connecticut standards.  I said he wasn't a conservative Republican by national standards.

You must have been a legacy admission to Yale.

Then you were speaking off topic.  And I was not technically a legacy admission to Yale and I also got into 2 other ivy league schools and my grades and SAT score were above the Yale averages, which is more than I can say for the minorities and southerners that got in because they came from under-represented states.
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2004, 09:12:44 pm »
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Agreed.

htmldon,

Sorry for calling you a RINO (I still don't think its worse than snot).  We elephants need to stick together in an election year.
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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2004, 10:26:50 pm »
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I'm putting up another post so I can get my third star back.  I lost it when some threads got deleted for being useless.

Still no third star.
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