August 15, 2014
KNOW WHAT you need in August ahead of the heart of the gubernatorial race? Substantive jobs data showing that Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf both fudge numbers. And, yeah, it's shocking to think that pols use stats solely to their advantage. And I realize efforts to claw toward the truth of complex issues can lose readers. Plus there are lots of stats. But here goes. Let's talk job growth. And although top economists suggest that the best jobs measure is long-term net jobs, let's start with just private-sector growth.
July 31, 2014
ALTHOUGH IT'S summer and the living is easy, perhaps you've noticed extra heat on Tom Wolf from Tom Corbett, who wants Wolf to remain a cabinetmaker instead of a Cabinet-chooser. (Get it? Wolf's company makes cabinets. If elected governor, he'd choose a Cabinet. So Corbett would rather he . . . well, if you have to explain.) The heat comes from Corbett's campaign saying Wolf is hiking taxes if elected and hiding taxes to get elected. Also, Wolf lies and is a hypocrite. More on that later.
July 24, 2014
KNOW WHAT'S annoying about the politics of pensions? Everything. Gov. Corbett is in week two of a race around the state - scheduled in Trevose, Bucks County, today; Dresher, Montco, tomorrow - browbeating the Legislature for not passing pension "reform. " Everywhere he goes he cites "a pension crisis" causing property taxes to rise. And he pretends his mostly small-town tour has nothing to do with his re-election effort because, after all, that would be wrong since he put people in prison for using taxpayer resources for political campaigns.
July 21, 2014 |
Four years ago, Joe Szalwinski knocked on doors and "passed out more fliers than I can count" to help elect Tom Corbett governor of Pennsylvania. This year? "I'll probably vote for him, but I won't work for him," said Szalwinski, 58, a tea party voter from Fishtown. He was disappointed that Corbett had abandoned the legal fight after a federal judge threw out the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and by the governor's willingness last year to put extra money into Philadelphia schools.
July 16, 2014
WE DON'T often agree with Tom Corbett, but the governor did the right thing in facing down the Legislature last week over the budget and pension reform. The fact that a Republican governor is acting against a Republican-led Legislature has the political community twittering (and tweeting). Politics aside, the position Corbett took has real meaning. The governor has been pressing the Legislature to send him bills to reform the pension systems for state employees and teachers. Both funds have large deficits that can be made up only by ever-increasing payments by local school districts and the state - unless something is done to change the benefit structure.
July 4, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Democrat Tom Wolf holds a 22-point lead over Republican incumbent Tom Corbett in the governor's race heading into the summer campaign season, according to a poll released Wednesday. The Franklin and Marshall College poll of registered voters showed Wolf leading Corbett 47 percent to 25 percent, with 27 percent of respondents undecided. Wolf has maintained a consistent 20- to 25-point lead in the four polls released since the York businessman swept the four-way Democratic primary in May. "The consensus is Corbett is significantly behind," said poll director G. Terry Madonna.
June 26, 2014 |
For more than two years, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane hounded Gov. Corbett with the suggestion that he slowed the Sandusky child sex-abuse investigation for political gain when he was the state's top law enforcement official. Yet when Kane released a report Monday that concluded there was no evidence of that, Corbett stayed silent. There was no I-told-you-so news conference, just a muted statement from the governor's office. Corbett's advisers calculated that neither the report nor any response he might make would change minds on the emotionally charged issues surrounding Pennsylvania State University, where Jerry Sandusky was an assistant football coach and founder of a charity for wayward boys.
June 19, 2014
I SUPPOSE Gov. Vulnerable could have a secret plan to dig out of a $1.4 (or more) billion hole and pass an on-time budget by June 30 to avoid looking inept while seeking re-election. Gut the state museum, sell off its contents and turn it into a Harrisburg casino? Sell the turnpike to NASCAR for four-lane, cross-state racing? I don't know; something bold. But given the quality of governing plans - secret or otherwise - so far shown during his tenure, it's more likely he'll continue painting himself into a political corner from which, to borrow from Jean-Paul Sartre, there really is no exit.
June 11, 2014 |
As many as 1,000 protesters, many angry about school funding, blocked traffic and waved signs in Center City on Monday afternoon, hoping to disrupt or at least deflect attention from a fund-raising stop by Govs. Corbett and Christie. "Our members are here because they're being mistreated," said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Six people were arrested for obstructing the highway - a summary offense - after sitting down on 17th Street. Police did not use handcuffs as they led them away.
May 22, 2014
IN 167 DAYS, Tom Corbett makes history. He's either the state's first incumbent governor to lose, or he's the state's first incumbent anything to rise from the politically dead. You know his predicament. After three-plus years in office, the Republican former prosecutor is known for education cuts, refusing to expand Medicaid, declining to tax gas drillers, pushing voter ID, trying to privatize the lottery and offending women, Hispanics and gays with public gaffes that drew national attention.