Governor Corbett Has Moxie: From a Democrat's Point of View!

Governor Tom Corbett had a reputation for signing budgets on time since his election.  He made a promise to his constituents not to drag out financial matters and to be prompt.  He promised no new taxes.  He also let the fracking industry run roughshod over any environmental policies that he had in check.  This is not the article to discuss his lack of education funding but his 20 point deficit in the polls to Tom Wolf might make him think twice about that.

Political pundits indicate that this is the first time in twenty years that a governor has performed a line item veto on a budget.  Everyone, myself included, thought that Governor Corbett would just go ahead and sign the budget as presented.  The need to be re-elected would supersede any other political interest.  Apparently we all were mistaken.  Governor Corbett indicates that our pension obligations need to be addressed sooner rather than later.  With one of the largest legislatures in the country, we should be attuned to this reality.  Mayor Nutter has tried to address this issue with unionized city workers to no avail.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai

Governor Corbett took a bold stroke with his veto pen.  He slashed $65 million in funding to run Senate and House operations.  Because Governor Corbett could not establish a major legislative victory during his first term, and the fact that he is politically vulnerable, I feel that this veto was a good move for him.  He presides over a Republican controlled legislature that should have helped him establish victories on pension reform, lottery privatization or liquor store privatization.  I do not agree with lottery or liquor store privatization, but we should all be concerned about the rising costs of pension obligations.

It is amazing that many inflammatory remarks are coming from Republicans.  House Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) told reporters that it smacked of politics.  Senator Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County was not too happy with the governor's actions also.  Many times it is Republicans who are united against social service agendas engineered by Democrats.  One of the first actions that Governor Corbett took was to get rid of adult Basic.  This insurance program was designed to assist low income Pennsylvanians who did did not have access to basic insurance.  The money that the legislature was setting aside could easily be used to help the school district or other infrastructure projects.  It has become a political pawn as the election season heads into the final four months.

One of the issues that also is contingent upon the legislature addressing his veto is the $2.00 a pack cigarette tax that is destined to help Philadelphia schools.  It was stated that the tobacco lobby is putting pressure behind the scenes to either squash this tax or put a five year limit on it.  There is no temporary tax as is exhibited by the temporary sales tax addition in Philadelphia.  How did that become permanent again?  I am sorry that people who smoke are being asked to carry the burden of funding the school district's financial difficulties.  Vice taxes are never a permanent solution.  Governor Corbett has combined his veto with an aggressive tax on his challenger Tom Wolf.  As he prepares to fight his Republican colleagues while being engaged in a political fight for his life, I applaud the courage of the Governor to take on the pension reform issue head on.

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