Rendell's Top Priority: Reelection

Don't drop any fiscal bombshells. Use what money you have to expand programs popular with the voters. And never, ever increase taxes.

So the playbook goes for first-term governors introducing a budget in the year they are up for reelection.

And Gov. Rendell's budget speech yesterday did not stray far from those parameters - though Rendell did use the occasion to detail some of his more dramatic initiatives of previous years and to push for measures he still wants accomplished, such as property-tax relief. was part sales pitch, part campaign stump speech.

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