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Late budget

Hey, Republican legislature…

Corbett_miss_me_yet

July 3, 2015 at 4:27 pm Comments (0)

On Being a Property Tax Scofflaw

ABC27.com

A Pennsylvania legislator wants to change the state Constitution to prevent government agencies from seizing homes for unpaid property taxes.

Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks) said property taxes in the state have risen to the point where many citizens can no longer afford to stay in their homes. He said the burden of property taxes fall particularly hard on poor, sick and older citizens.

Wooooohooooaaaaa… all of the sudden we need to put in to our tax system a way to actively encourage people to not pay property taxes?

Property taxes have spiraled out of control in Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons, and there is a serious effort afoot in Harrisburg to eliminate them altogether. Governor Wolf thinks that’s a bridge too far, and has offered, “instead let’s give everyone a property tax break” with the total wink-wink of “we’re gonna get you sooner or later, you suckers taxpaying property owners.”

Now comes along this positively insane idea. “We’re gonna keep taxing you, and you’re not going to pay it, we’ll count on those bozos who do pay it to make up the shortfall.”

I can’t believe this is even an idea.

Get rid of them altogether. Make it up somewhere else, ignoring property taxes scofflaws is just going to make property tax scofflaws.


March 20, 2015 at 7:13 pm Comments (0)

No Yuengling for Wolf (Updated)

It was good enough for Obama…

Rep. Vereb’s response (Daily Caller):

“Yuengling employs Pennsylvanians. It’s America’s oldest brewery. It’s the economic driver in Pottsville, not to mention that whole region,” Vereb continued. “He takes care of his employees. He’s not unionized, and frankly, neither is Tom Wolf’s cabinet company.”

Update from Brad Bumsted (1-19-05):

“We reached a limit on what we can actually use weeks ago,” Wolf said. Asked if it was an anti-union decision, Wolf said, “I don’t know what it is.”

Wolf said he always buys Yuengling. But he did not indicate any intention to change the directive and allow Yuengling at his party.

January 18, 2015 at 4:32 pm Comments (0)

Say What?

New Corbett ad.

It is rather astonishing to me that Wolf is running on a platform of raising taxes.

September 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm Comments (0)

$2 Pack Tax Signed

Cigarette retailers in Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Cheltenham and Upper Darby thank you.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law on Wednesday imposing a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes and little cigars sold in Philadelphia to help fund the city’s cash-strapped schools.

This new levy, which takes effect Oct. 1, is anticipated will generate $70 million to $90 million per year of recurring revenue to support the district.

In his and others remarks about the legislation that allows Philadelphia to enact the tax, it was emphasized that it was a bi-partisan effort that got this bill across the finish line that Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, began pushing for two years and created a lot of legislative drama along the way.

“This was not a partisan issue. It was about the students of Philadelphia,” Corbett said. “House Bill 1177 is another step in our mission to provide great education for every student in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It provides a steady funding source for the School District of Philadelphia and will support a safe and secure learning environment for the students there.”

So next fall, when the cry once again goes out that the Philly school district is broke and needs money, expect the call to be “a statewide cigarette tax” to cover the gap.

September 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm Comment (1)

Government is not a business

Tom Wolf wants us to think that he’ll run the state government like a business. His business, specifically. Government is not a business. Government is more like a mafia.

Not quite, but not as far off as you might think. Try stiffing the government its protection… er… tax payments, and see how long it takes until the men with guns come to sell your house out from under you, or maybe even stick you in a cage.

Don’t get me wrong, businessmen can be good in public office. Many of them see the need to streamline operations and cut fat. Quite a few of them understand the need for modest rather than overbearing regulation, and tax regimes that are low and predictable. These do not seem to be the major points Mr. Wolf is selling.

The “business” lesson Wolf seems most eager to apply is the raising of revenue. (“Fiscally responsible” is the new “tax and spend”.) But government revenues are an altogether different animal from business revenues. Business revenues are obtained by providing a valuable good or service to a voluntary customer base. Government revenues are obtained through force (implied and first, then literal) of arms. The only way to avoid this is to leave the state for another hopefully less mafioso jurisdiction.

Given that some level of taxation is necessary for any government, the question of growing revenues –presuming such a thing should be deemed desirable– relies on one or both of the following: growing the economic base and raising rates.

The latter, though more easily accomplished, undermines the former. Guess which one Tom Wolf emphasizes.

With glee, Wolf also brags about his company’s employee profit-sharing model. I don’t want government to share profits with its employees. Neither should any sane taxpayer.

But if we’re going to use a business analogy, ethical businessmen don’t fudge figures, as with the supposed billion dollar education cuts that have somehow resulted in record state spending on education. Neither do sound businessmen ignore long-term obligations, as with our broken pension system, for which the Wolf pack has no apparent solution. And nobody walks in to the board of directors and asks to be CEO without putting out a detailed fiscal plan.

Imagine it:

CEO candidate: We need to spend more on R&D.
Board: How much more?
CEO candidate: No clue.
Board: Thank you for your time. Please leave.

September 23, 2014 at 9:33 pm Comments (0)

Excellent ad from Corbett camp

It’s nice to be able to applaud a campaign ad for once.

Kudos to whoever made this ad. The campaign would be wise to give you all their money.

It’s about time our side started pointing out that all the “cuts” to education have resulted in record high funding.

There are so many brilliant aspects to this ad that I don’t want to jinx it by pointing them out.

April 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm Comments (0)

The Privatization Push is On

I’m an optimist, so I’d like to believe that Gov. Corbett is actually going to get this done.

Governor Tom Corbett has unveiled his plan to get Pennsylvania out of the business of selling wine and liquor.

During a news conference Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Corbett said the three- to four-year process of selling wholesale and retail licenses would generate $1 billion in revenue to create educational grants for Pennsylvania’s schools.

“My plan gets the state completely out of the liquor business,” Corbett said. “The state will no longer be a marketer of alcohol. Instead, it will now focus on its role as a regulator.”

Under the governor’s proposal, more than 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores would be shut down and the entire liquor wholesale and retail system would be privately owned and operated.

Only in Pennsylvania could the prospect of buying a six-pack at the grocery store be an earth-shaking political issue, but that’s our state. Love it or leave it move to the Carolinas like everyone else. For conservatives, this should be a no-brainer–getting the state out of any business is usually a smashing success–and it looks like privatization has a lot of support among the general public. If he’s successful, Corbett can stand next to this issue, smile, and have an easy bid for reelection.

By the way, here’s the official word from the Gov. if you’re interested.

January 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm Comment (1)

Corbett: Raising Gas Taxes

It’s been trendy of late to pile on Governor Corbett, for a variety of reasons, mostly not being able to get things done, what with Republican majorities in the House & Senate. I’ve been reluctant.

But damn dude. This is brain damaged.

Two people who learned details of the plan told The Associated Press Wednesday that the governor will announce the fine points of the long-awaited initiative next week.

They both spoke on condition of anonymity because Corbett has not publicly disclosed the plan.

A message seeking comment that was left with Corbett’s press office wasn’t immediately returned.

The proposal would remove a statutory cap on the oil company franchise tax.

The per-gallon tax is applied up to an average wholesale price of $1.25, and the administration says lifting the cap could produce $1.9 billion a year.

I understand that the governor is denying the reports, and I appreciate that. But the idea is so stupid, it could only come from Harrisburg.

Literally, there is no tax that is paid that IS NOT paid by the consumer. Call it what you want, but that $1.9 billion is gonna come down the food chain to you and me. No way to avoid that.

So by all means, tax the oil companies, tax the gas companies, tax the refiners, tax the pipeline companies, tax the frackers. But they’re just going to send it on to us.

January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm Comments (0)

Will Sandusky And Corbett Defeat Romney?

The Governor’s mishandling of the Sandusky investigation may doom the GOP

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. It’s all about Ohio. Win the Buckeye state — win the White House.

Very true, especially for Mitt Romney, since no Republican has won without it.

But the monumental point is being overlooked.

Ohio is only kingmaker by default.  Its 18 electoral votes would not be needed if Romney wins Ohio’s larger neighbor — Pennsylvania and its 20 electors.

That’s not wishful thinking, but eminently achievable. Or at least it was, until two men severely diminished hope for delivering the Keystone State: Jerry Sandusky and Republican Governor Tom Corbett.

*****

Make no mistake. Pennsylvania should have been a lock for the GOP.  The fact that it has not voted Republican for president since 1988 is misleading. When there is a solid candidate, Pennsylvania is always in play, where a small vote swing changes the election result (George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004).  Conversely, bad candidates lose handily (Bush I in ‘92, Dole in ’96, and McCain in 2008). And remember that Ronald Reagan won it twice, and George H.W. Bush in ’88.

In 1994, it became the most Republican state in the country in terms of elected officials, with the GOP claiming both U.S. Senate seats, the governorship, total control of the state legislature, a majority in its congressional delegation, and two of three statewide row offices.

Fast forward to 2010, when GOP Governor Tom Corbett rode to victory with a massive ten-point margin.  Conservative Pat Toomey was elected U.S. Senator, and Republicans gained control of the State House in historic fashion, smashing the Democrats and taking a ten-seat majority.  The State Senate remained solidly Republican — as it has for three decades.

So why is it likely that Romney will lose the Pennsylvania Prize?

Enter Corbett and Sandusky.

*****

The most worthless commodities in politics are endorsements. Party leaders endorsing their own is expected, swaying no one.  And celebrities choosing sides only makes for good cocktail talk.  Romney doesn’t benefit from Clint Eastwood, nor Obama from Bruce Springsteen.

But while endorsements don’t sell, popularity does. And they are distinctively different.

If a leader possesses a bold vision — and the ability to articulate ideas in a common sense, bipartisan way — he will have followers from the entire political spectrum. New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie is the best example, having achieved monumental victories despite both legislative chambers being heavily Democratic.

While no single Republican could swing Jersey to Romney, that feat should have been in the bag in much more Republican Pennsylvania. If Christie could rack up wins in The People’s Republic of New Jersey, gaining immense popularity, how could Corbett not deliver Pennsylvania?

Because he is an MIA governor.

After the first year of his Administration, when virtually nothing was accomplished, Corbett’s own legislators nicknamed him “Christie-lite.” But after the second year, with an even more startling lack of achievements, the nicknames became unprintable.

We’re not talking about a failed extreme right-wing agenda, but common sense ideas Corbett promised but didn’t come close to delivering, despite holding all the cards.

-Was the nation’s largest state-controlled liquor system dismantled — a move overwhelmingly supported by most Pennsylvanians? Nope. Zero action.

-Was any effort made to 1) solve the state’s massive pension crisis, 2)lower the job-killing, corporate net income tax (second-highest in the nation), or 3) reform the nation’s most hostile legal climate? All drive businesses away, but no action was taken. The can was kicked down the road.

-Did state union workers receive a contract in line with private sector employees? No.  Instead, Corbett gave them guaranteed raises, no increases in health care premiums, and eliminated layoffs for economic reasons. At the same time, he raised salaries of his inner circle, aides who apparently couldn’t get by on $135,000.

While his inaction sunk the Governor’s favorable ratings, it was his handling of sexual predator Jerry Sandusky that really put him in the toilet, flushing away whatever attractiveness he had left.

Corbett’s attempt to steal the national limelight at Penn State news conferences by portraying himself as the savior who took down Sandusky rapidly backfired. Instead, his decisions in that case (he was the investigating Attorney General) grew into a firestorm that continues to explode.

No one is buying Corbett’s claims that he didn’t play politics with the Sandusky investigation. A whopping 69 percent of Pennsylvanians don’t view Corbett favorably, making him the nation’s least popular governor.  And a miniscule 17 percent think he handled the Sandusky investigation well.

Why? Maybe because:

-It took three years to get Sandusky off the street. Within the law enforcement community, it’s almost unanimous that Sandusky should have been nailed much, much earlier. Ten cases weren’t needed, as Corbett maintains, but only two or three to make an arrest while continuing to build the case.

-Corbett ordered a narcotics agent to lead a whopping team of two to investigate Sandusky, while scores of agents — including child predator units — prosecuted a political corruption case.

Because of Corbett’s colossal inconsistencies, Republican leaders were forced to abruptly end a legislative session, killing a motion requesting a federal investigation of Corbett’s handling of the case.

As a result, Corbett’s numbers have stayed in the basement. The erosion of his popularity, transcending Party lines, stems from the nagging feeling that Corbett placed politics above the protection of innocent children.

*****

The most far-reaching result of the Governor’s failures will be the political earthquake that never was. If Corbett had been just a fraction of Chris Christie, and had run the Sandusky investigation properly, Mitt Romney wins Pennsylvania hands down.

Instead, because of Corbett’s toxicity, Romney was forced to focus on Ohio, which he will likely lose, and with it, the White House.

But that may be the least of Corbett’s troubles. Kathleen Kane is poised to become the first elected Democratic Attorney General in Pennsylvania history.  Should that occur, the political embarrassment for Corbett would be immense, since he would be seen as the main contributor to a Kane victory.

If elected, Kane promises an intense review of the Sandusky investigation, with no hesitation to charge anyone —including the Governor — should improprieties be uncovered.

And who thought politics wouldn’t be interesting after this election?

As published in Daily County Daily Times:
http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/11/05/opinion/doc50979500780a2499235935.txt

Philadelphia Magazine:
http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/11/05/sandusky-corbett-defeat-romney/

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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November 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm Comments (0)

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