The Pennsylvania Republican

HARRISBURG – Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason was not surprised to hear Tom Wolf advocate for higher income taxes on Pennsylvania families.

“Tom Wolf’s only answer for Pennsylvania is raising taxes,” Gleason said. “Instead of addressing Pennsylvania’s $47 billion pension crisis, Tom Wolf has decided to play a shell game with the tax dollars of Pennsylvania families. Apparently Secretary Wolf fails to realize that a tax by any other name is still a tax on hard-working Pennsylvanians.

“Pennsylvanians want a leader who won’t play games with their tax dollars. We can’t afford to reward a former Revenue Secretary who claims ignorance on the latest tax information, despite receiving that information from the Corbett campaign this past week. Pennsylvanians deserve solutions, not talking points, and that’s why we simply cannot afford Tom Wolf.”

In an article from Associated Press writers Peter Jackson and Marc Levy, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf reiterated that he would not address pension reform as a property tax  cost driver but instead raise the income tax on Pennsylvanians in a secret income tax shell game.

The same article also states, “Wolf, a state Revenue Secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell, said he cannot determine where he would set the exemption or tax rate before the election because he lacks the Department of Revenue’s up-to-date information about state taxpayers.”  (Peter Jackson and Marc Levy, “Wolf: Wealthy Should Pay More to Cut School Taxes,”Associated Press, 7/26/14)

His ignorance is particularly interesting given that the Corbett-Cawley campaign sent the Wolf campaign Pennsylvania’s tax code information on Thursday, July 24, noting in a release:

Wolf, despite his excuse that he cannot provide the details on his income tax proposal because he does not have the information necessary, actually authored a similar report to the one sent to him by the Corbett-Cawley campaign during his tenure as Governor Ed Rendell’s Secretary of Revenue. The Corbett-Cawley campaign sent Wolf a copy of the letter he signed in 2008. (“Corbett-Cawley Campaign Provides Secretary Tom Wolf with Necessary Documentation for Wolf to Provide Details on His Income Tax Proposal,” TomCorbettforGovernor.com, 7/24/14)

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For years, Democrats throughout our Commonwealth have attempted to score cheap political points against Governor Corbett by claiming that he “cut $1 billion from our schools.”

This is simply not true, and it’s time for the true story of how the Democrats raided Pennsylvania’s education budget comes to light.

In fact, the Democrats raided Pennsylvania’s education budget and used one-time federal stimulus dollars to cover their tracks. In fact, state funding for schools decreased in the last two years that a Democrat held the Governor’s mansion.

The Democrat knew that they were leaving our schools in critical condition for the next Governor, but they decided to kick the can down the road anyway.

When Governor Corbett took office, he was faced with a fiscal mess thanks to the Democrats. As he was being

sworn into office in January of 2011, he was faced with a $4.22 billion budget deficit and an education system reeling from the Democrats’ short-sighted political manuevers.

Pennsylvania needed leadership, and so Tom Corbett went to work.

By June 30th, Governor Corbett and Republicans in the General Assembly delivered the first of three consecutive on-time and balanced budgets.

Over the course of the next three years, Republicans would increase state funding for our schools every year.

In fact, the Corbett Administration has invested more state funds in our schools than any other Governor in history.

But instead of congratulating Governor Corbett for putting Pennsylvania back on the right track, the Democrats came up with “The Big Lie,” claiming that Governor Corbett cut education spending by coming into office after the stimulus funds vanished.

Republicans have been fighting back on this absurd strategy by the Democrats, and they still don’t have an answer for their actions.

When asked about their false claims on Governor Corbett’s education record, the Democratic gubernatorial candidates answers that range from leaving out our funding of teacher pension costs to citing unknown administrators who feel that their funding was cut by Tom Corbett.

Did I mention that Governor Corbett has increased Pennsylvania’s education investment while keeping taxes low and reducing the size of government to a 50-year low?

The fact that Tom Wolf will not stand up and admit his Party’s shell game with our taxpayer dollars serves as further proof that they are not ready to lead the sixth largest state in the country

Tom Corbett cares deeply about our kids and their schools. As a former ninth grade civics teacher, Tom Corbett understands the importance of educating our kids and ensuring that they’re prepared for the future.

Under Governor Tom Corbett, parents can now go online and find out how their school district is performing compared to other schools.

Governor Corbett has also worked hard to empower parents with children in low-performing school districts. Through the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, children attended schools that fall in the lowest 15% of statewide assessments may be eligible for scholarship that allow them to choose another option.

It’s no surprise, then, that Governor Corbett’s strong record on education has earned national recognition through the federal government’s Race to the Top program. The program infuses more than $41 million to help Pennsylvania develop its Pre-K through 12 initiatives.

“I know, from my time spent as a teacher and with my own two children, that a one-size-fits-all approach to education does not create a successful learning environment,” Corbett said upon receiving the award.

It’s sad that the Democrats’ 2014 campaign strategy is lying early and often, but apparently they feel like it’s their only option. Telling the truth about Tom Corbett will only expose the problems with their agenda or expanding government and raising taxes.

Over the course of the coming months, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and our grassroots network will be working hard to combat the Democrats’ “Big Lie,” because we cannot afford to go backwards now. Tom Corbett is improving our schools, and now it’s time for Pennsylvania voters to learn the truth.

 

HARRISBURG — The House State Government Committee in June will hold a hearing to examine nonprofit groups that spend money to influence campaigns with little public disclosure about who runs the groups and contributes to them.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, said on Thursday that the hearing will be conducted June 5.

“They appear to be political committees, more than anything else,” Metcalfe said. “I don’t believe there’s a loophole in our current law. I believe there’s a loophole in enforcement.”

Metcalfe cited Pennsylvanians for Accountability, which has run negative TV ads targeting Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

“A group attempting to influence the outcome of an election ought to register as a political committee,” he said.

Metcalfe said he intends to call the Department of State, which oversees elections, and the attorney general’s office to testify.

Pennsylvanians for Accountability spokeswoman Lynsey Kryzwick said the group’s primary purpose is to inform people about misinformation Corbett provides about his budget priorities. She said the group is filing for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.

“This hearing is nothing more than a partisan attempt to silence the real concerns that Pennsylvania taxpayers have with Gov. Corbett’s budget and the direction that he’s taking our state,” Kryzwick said in an emailed statement.

“What taxpayers really care about are the struggles to find steady work and overcrowded schools — and that middle-class families are facing devastating cuts in the budget while the governor’s campaign donors are getting tax breaks,” she said.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said the ads distort the governor’s record. He said the organization should disclose who contributes to its campaign.

“I don’t know why they’re hiding behind the skirt of a nonprofit that refuses to list their donors, unless they’re ashamed of what the TV commercials are because they know they are distorting Corbett’s record,” Harley said.

Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, said the campaign finance law contains loopholes. He supports a bill sponsored by Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills. The legislation would cap contribution limits; enhance disclosure laws to include all individuals and organizations donating to political campaigns; and require corporations to get shareholders’ approval for campaign contributions greater than $10,000.

“If you are engaged in political campaigning, the public has the right to know who you are, what your goals and agenda are, and who is backing you,” Kauffman said.

Corporations that donate money to a campaign can sway the outcome of elections significantly, he said. Shareholders and consumers have a right to know which political campaigns that a company supports.

“Democracy really should not be for sale,” Kauffman said.

Pennsylvania is one of a few states that don’t limit campaign contributions. Costa said his bill aims to maintain a balance of influence in elections.

“This legislation is intended to bring standards to Pennsylvania’s electoral process that are common in most other state and federal elections,” Costa wrote in a memorandum on the bill.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media’s state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com. Megan Rogers is an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association.

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