State Rep. Carl Mantz (RLehigh/Berks) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Ed Rendell's 2007-08 state budget proposal, which was unveiled on Tuesday:"While the governor says he understands the economic challenges we face in the coming year, his actions seem to contradict his words.

Instead of allowing our families and small employers to keep more of their hard-earned money to spend or invest as they see fit, the governor wants to take more of the people's money and spend it his way.

"He proposes to increase spending by 4.2 percent, and he proposes to borrow more than $2 billion to fund a variety of health care, energy and economic development programs.

Health care, energy and economic development should be priorities, but government should not be in the health care, energy or economic development business.

Instead, we should be focused on opening the door for the private sector to invest in these initiatives.

"With the exception of the proposal to provide rebates to about 400,000 of the lowest-income families in the state, this budget does not do enough to put a substantial amount of money back into the pockets of our working families.

"Instead of automatically funding most everything that was included in last year's budget, we need to take a closer look at the hundreds of state programs supported by the budget to determine their efficiency and effectiveness.

That information would allow us to prioritize state spending, cut costs, and maybe even reduce the tax burden for our working families and small employers."

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