Governor Rendell is backtracking on an administration plan to pay for a budget-related PR campaign with state dollars.
The move comes days after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the effort to use up to 30,000 tax dollars to pay PR consultant Kevin Feeley to coordinate the efforts to lobby for budget line items.
Rendell says he didn't know about the contract.
"At a time when we have made more than two and a half billion dollars in cuts -- and will have to make some additional cuts at the budget negotiations this year -- to spend even one dollar of taxpayers' money like that, like this, is inappropriate," says Rendell. "Therefore Mr. Feeley is returning the taxpayer money, and I will pay him out of the campaign."
Feeley was billing the state $5000 a month and has done two months of work.
Rendell says the PR effort itself is appropriate, and told reporters he's helped coordinate similar efforts in the past -- but that they were paid for with Democratic State Committee money, instead of tax dollars.