Pennsylvania’s Republican majority in the state house have re-invented the popular TV game show Jeopardy. You know the one where you pick the category and dollar amount, then you get the answer and you have to be the first contestant to ask the question to win the game. Try playing along with this version. It™s not hard to play and someday you might even understand it.
The category is school districts for $83 million, the answer is: “the state’s largest school district was sold for this number.” The question is: “Where is Philadelphia?” That’s right. Last year Republican Governor Mark Schweiker had the general assembly pump an additional $83 million into the Philadelphia school system. The promise of the money evaporated the last vestiges of union dominated resistance to the plan allowing for the state takeover of the largest school district in the Commonwealth.
The category is highways for $2 billion, the answer is: “has the most miles of state highways interconnected in its downtown.” The question is: “Where is Philadelphia?” That’s right. With the connections of Routes 611, The Schuylkill and Vine Expressways, 476 and I-95 the major arteries running through and around downtown Philadelphia are state highways built and maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Most have had major improvements made during the Ridge/Schweiker administrations as by-products of two new sports stadiums and the campaign to attract the Republican National Convention two years ago.
The category is convention centers for $250 million, the answer is: “the convention center just taken over by the state of Pennsylvania.” The question is: “Where is Philadelphia?” That’s right. Last week in its closing session the Republican majority in the general assembly sent a bill to Governor Schweiker that would restructure the authority governing the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia to allow the state rather than the city to control it. This is the center where ridiculous labor disputes that caused huge cost overruns had the real national Jeopardy TV Show with Alec What’s-his-name vowing never to come back to the city of brotherly love’s $600 million convention hall.
The category is governors for two terms, the answer is: “benefits most from Republican takeovers in Philadelphia.” The question is: “Who is Ed Rendell?” That’s right. While winning the popular vote handily the governor-elect was victorious in only 16 of the state’s 67 counties. The other 51 are very suspicious that he is going to turn the state treasury over to Philadelphia’s city hall. Now he doesn’t have to worry. The Republicans own the expensive problems in Philadelphia so they’ll have to find ways to pay for them. With problems like a billion dollar deficit on the horizon, a rush toward local tax reform and prescription drug support for senior citizens demanding big dollars all the Governor-elect will have to do is sit back and let the Republicans come up with the budget answers in 2003. Yes, for the Republicans, this is jeopardy.
The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.