Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1360, Nov. 3rd, 2010




John Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News gave a good analysis of what a Governor Corbett will do for Pennsylvania as opposed to the "candidate" Corbett we were exposed to.
With Republican Tom Corbett elected governor in a race that ran under the radar in Philly, here's a taste of what to expect for the next four years.
The main course: No new taxes, legislative reforms and cuts in government spending.
Butlered hors d'oeuvres or dessert, depending on when they're served: business tax cuts and the sale of State Stores.
For many this is an appetizing bill of fare, as evidenced by the margin of Corbett's win.
The question is, does the meal live up to the menu?
Let's start with the no-new-taxes pledge Corbett signed earlier this year.
I'm not saying it's impossible. But history isn't encouraging.
Every Pennsylvania governor in the last 40 years, no matter his party, no matter the state of the economy - Democrat Milton Shapp, Republican Dick Thornburgh, Democrat Robert Casey, Republican Tom Ridge, Democrat Ed Rendell - raised taxes.
With the state facing a deficit that could climb to $5 billion by June and with Corbett vowing to forgo revenue from taxing Marcellus Shale gas, it appears a tall order for T.C. to avoid following his predecessors' footsteps.
There are also some top-dog GOP precedents: "read-my-lips" Republican candidate George H.W. Bush promised no new taxes then raised them; and Ronald Reagan, the gold standard of conservative tax-cut/no-tax pols, raised payroll taxes in 1983 and energy taxes in 1984.
And, OK, it's a new day and a brave new, right-leaning world and I'd be happy to be proven wrong but, as they say, we'll see.
Calling for legislative reforms has been in vogue since the pay grab of '05. Candidate Corbett said he'll take away lawmaker perks such as unvouchered per diem expenses and $200 million in discretionary, a/k/a slush fund, accounts, end so-called WAMs (walking-around-money) for pet projects and cut the Legislature's $300 million annual budget by 10 percent.
These are great ideas for needed revenues.
Just remember, candidates say lots of things, but when governors start dealing with lawmakers to get budgets (or anything else) done, attitudes and priorities can change.
Less spending
Much of the state's $28 billion budget is made up of mandated costs, especially related to Medicaid, the state prison system and annual debt payments, all of which are growing.
Candidate Corbett mostly avoided naming specific areas of cost-cutting beyond usual calls to end fraud, waste and abuse and to cut costs by 10 percent in all three branches of government.
But he has direct control only over the executive branch and no control over the Legislature ($300 million) or judiciary ($288 million).
This is not to say he can't make a good run at playing the populist cost-cutter. But it will be interesting to see what level of cooperation he gets from the other two branches, especially from a legislature he investigated as attorney general.
The rest
Corbett said he'll cut the state corporate net income tax 30 percent, kill the "death" (inheritance) tax and work to sell off the State Stores to get $2 billion in new revenue.
This is standard GOP stuff and with a GOP Legislature might even be doable, though Ridge failed to sell State Stores when he had a GOP Legislature.
Don't expect any new efforts at gun control, any expansion of gay rights, legalized medical marijuana, a moratorium on gas drilling or ongoing substantial increases for public education.
Corbett will seek to make his monogram, T.C., also stand for tax-cutter and push a pro-business/pro-populist agenda as far as he can.
If he succeeds, if he does what he said he'll do then liberal causes face starvation, state government goes on a diet and Pennsylvanians get served exactly what they ordered.
John Baer is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and a frequent contributor to PCN TV.


At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If he succeeds, if he does what he said he'll do then liberal causes face starvation, state government goes on a diet and Pennsylvanians get served exactly what they ordered."

Funny if Tom Corbett can do just the above line, I will be glad I voted for him.
Cut State Gov't? Yes.
Cut social programs that support the lazy class? Yes!

go tommy go

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GO TOM ... GO!

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see how our Luzerne County officials will get their dirty little hands in the pie for the Home Rule. Maybe it will take a while since they don't know how the hell it's going to work anyway.

At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only Republican I voted for was Barletta. I thought Sestak would be better for defense and Tobyhanna and I thought Corbett was overly cozy to the Marcellus shale faction.

It would be a mistake for the Republicans to think of this as a mandate; rather it's a plea for both parties to work together to enact some solutions. It looks like Marino is not thinking that way. He wasn't elected five minutes and he was "firing" Nancy Pelosi. Put a couple terms in Tommy before you start firing the speaker of the house. Lose the attitude or you'll be looking for a job come Christmas 2012.

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is not a plea for parties to work together. if they wanted unanimity people would have voted dem. They want the republicans to be conservative and stop the move towards communism that Obama has wrought. No more gov't take over of private businesses, no more large scale bailouts. Get gov't out of the way and bring back economic freedom to all classes. a side note, part of that freedom is the freedom to fail!

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It would be a mistake for the Republicans to think of this as a mandate"

Not in my book. They know what I want and I voted them in to do it. To compromise on principals is to have none.
-Andrew Johnson (?) or me.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous your friend and poltical sparring partner said...

The republicans DO have a mandate. It came from Republicans, Democrats and Independents.......... STOP Obama.
If people wanted Congress to work with the White House, they would have voted Democrat.
The people don't want a go along to get along Congress, they just had that.
Especially in PA. Everyone talks about Toomey in a squeaker. Well he had to overcome a 1 million voter registration disadvantage. That is like running a marathon and the winner spotted the pack 10 miles.


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