By Tom Mulkeen, Contributing Writer
Tom Corbett is quickly learning that governing is much more difficult than campaigning. The Governor received a less-than-encouraging welcome in Pittsburgh over the weekend.
Governor Corbett decided to take in an Arena Football League game over the weekend in Pittsburgh between the Pittsburgh Power and the Philadelphia Soul. When he came out to do the coin flip before the game, he was greeted by “a seemingly never ending chorus of boos,” according to the Steelers Lounge, which is a Pittsburgh Steelers blog.
A WXPI screenshot from the Post-Gazette shows that Corbett was also booed at Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday although Corbett claimed that his reception was “very good” according to CBS Pittsburgh.
How bad should Corbett feel about it? According to KDKA’s Jon Delano, not very. A politician in Pittsburgh, it turns out, is like Santa Claus at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Well we tend to boo all politicians,” Delano tweeted, “but Corbett is a handy target in the news a lot over budget cuts.”
“Rendell got booed, too, especially in this area,” he added. “What’s unusual us how quickly it’s turned on Corbett.”
Indeed, perhaps former Governor Rendell has sympathy for Corbett here. Penguins fans will remember that he was ill-received when he tried to play hardball with legend Mario Lemieux during the negotiations over a new arena in 2007 and there was a threat of the Pens moving.
Still, the immediate criticism of Corbett’s budget was that it would result in higher tuitions for PA families, including those with students at Pitt. Not exactly a popularity booster.
The budget that Corbett proposed last Tuesday has been widely criticized by Democrats as attacking public education in the state. PoliticsPA reported last week that aid to the four state-affiliated universities, Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln, would be approximately cut in half. Penn State President Graham Spanier said the cuts would “spell catastrophic change for students and the state.”
The education lobby and students are quickly moving to head off the proposal so the legislature does not pass the budget as proposed. The Daily News reported on a rally over the weekend in Philadelphia over the weekend and more rallies are planned. The two student body presidents at Penn State and Pitt, Christian Ragland and Molly Stieber respectively, are planning student protests and a day of lobbying at the capitol according to the AP.
It remains to be seen if the Republican legislature is willing to pass a budget that cuts so much especially from such a non-controversial issue such as education. PoliticsPA reported last week that about one third of the entire legislature, including 50 Republicans, attended colleges that receive at least some state aid. Presumably, some of them have children who may be currently attending school there who would feel the immediate effect of having to pay higher tuition or choose from fewer professors or classes, which would be the two most obvious effects from a cut in aid.
Keegan Gibson contributed to this report.