about the Governor
December 5, 2011
of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were surprised in 2010 when
the rather liberal newspaper did not endorse the Democratic candidate
for Governor of Pennsylvania, as it usually does.
the P-G recommended the Republican, Tom Corbett. He
follows the standard Republican philosophy: our
government should do as little as possible for us.
of his proposals was that Pennsylvanias politicians should get
out of the business of operating the states liquor stores.
The P-G happened to agree with him. The paper has long
advocated selling the notoriously inefficient state stores to private
enterprise, which would presumably do a better job of operating
them. So it backed Corbett, and he was in fact elected.
far, no action has been taken toward selling the state stores.
transportation is a bigger problem in this state. Needed
repairs to roads and bridges are being delayed.
Pittsburghs Port Authority Transit is slowly dying; it phased
out 22% of its bus routes last March and has announced that it will
have to eliminate another 41% next year to close a $64 million
deficit. If it does, many workers will be unable to get to
their jobs; other commuters will take to their cars, further clogging
and labor leaders agree that we need to raise more money for transportation.
Corbett, as a Republican, opposes raising more money for anything.
to suggest any tax or fee increases, he instead appointed a
commission to make those suggestions. Their recommendations
have been sitting on his desk since August. I guess hes
still reviewing them.
October, the Post-Gazette editorialized:
months ago, Gov. Tom Corbett put together a 40-member,
well-qualified advisory group to study how to finance
Pennsylvanias transportation and transit needs.
months ago, his Transportation Funding Advisory Commission presented
a comprehensive plan that could raise $2.7 billion through a
combination of measures lifting a cap on a tax paid by fuel
wholesalers and hiking the fees for drive licenses and auto registration.
then, legislative leaders have been waiting to learn the
governors reaction to the plan ... motivated by the
deteriorating state of Pennsylvanias 5,000 structurally
deficient bridges, 8,000 crumbling miles of highway and a severely
diminished ability to provide efficient mass transit.
sure sounds like a crisis, yet the governors most recent
statements suggest that he doesnt understand why anybody would
expect him to do something about it.
Mr. Corbett said he is worried about the economy, and hes
certainly not alone in that. But the plan offered by his own
transportation commission would cost the average driver just $120 to
$200 per year, or less than $17 per month. It would put
Pennsylvanians to work, performing long-needed repairs and upgrades
that will cut down on wasted time and gasoline.
governor has said, Sure theres a problem.
Theres been a problem there for 25 years. Where has
everybody been for 25 years?
better question is why isnt Mr. Corbett eager to solve it now.
After two more years, he has in fact done something.
the other hand, the governor is eager to push his pet
project, a school voucher program that would allow a family to take
taxpayer-provided money away from a failing public school (thus
making its failings even worse) and to give the money to a private
school. Like the governor, many such private schools are
Catholic. The Post-Gazette editorialized last weekend:
one should be surprised that leaders in the Catholic Diocese of
Pittsburgh want families served by its schools to push for passage of
a tuition voucher bill in Harrisburg. The legislation is in the
schools' interest, and it's the right of parents to speak out. ...
October the state Senate passed a measure that would shift $5,800 to
$13,900 per student away from public schools and to a student's
private school. ...As the voucher debate moves to the House, this
episode is a reminder that some voucher advocates are not as
interested in rescuing students from failing public schools as they
are in getting public funds for their private, in this case
religious, schools. This comes despite the Pennsylvania
Constitution's flat assertion that No money raised for the
support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be
appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.
child should be trapped in a failing school system, and the
Legislature should fund
alternatives and reforms that work. But lawmakers must keep in
mind that for some of the biggest backers of vouchers, the movement
is about channeling public dollars into religious education in
opposition to the will of Pennsylvania's founders.
dont get me started on the governors obvious reluctance
to charge any fees for extracting natural gas from the Marcellus
Shale, as all other states do. You see, the out-of-state energy
companies helped finance his campaign.
grumble. Anybody for a regime change?