5/29 Ups & Downs

Polls, promotions and primaries. See who made this week’s list!

Up Arrow1Pat Toomey. The state’s junior Senator has been on a bit of a run lately but this week might have been the most important so far in his quest for re-election. By now, it’s become an open secret that national Democrats wanted Josh Shapiro as their 2016 nominee instead of Joe Sestak. Nevertheless, Shapiro decided not to run, leaving the Democratic Party divided over who to rally around. On top of that revelation came the results of the latest PPP poll, which shows Toomey leading Sestak, Pawlowski and even a hypothetical matchup against Ed Rendell. It’s still incredibly early, but Toomey finds himself in a great spot.

Down ArrowTom Wolf. Speaking of polls, that same PPP survey found the Governor’s approval rating at just 40%. The silver lining is that Wolf’s numbers are still better than many other officials, including President Obama. The dark cloud, however, is that Gov. Wolf’s ratings have fallen so fast before the budget battle has even really started. One thing is crystal clear, though, and that is the honeymoon is over. As a result, this summer will be a critical period for the new Governor.

Up ArrowNathan Davidson. This week Davidson was named the new Executive Director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee. The HDCC has been left without a leader since last December and is in need of some fresh blood after the GOP swept the 2014 races. A Hershey native, Davidson gets to come back home to the Keystone State to try get House Democrats back on their feet, and maybe someday, back in the majority.


Up ArrowDown ArrowRick Santorum. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is running for President! Yeah, of course everyone knew he was going to run again. Also, everyone knows it would be just about impossible to do better than he did four years ago. With so many potential opponents and unfortunate past associations already being litigated, we’re left to wonder why Santorum is even running. Terry Madonna has his own novel theory; Santorum is really running for Vice President. The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know whether the ex-Senator will regret ever getting back into politics when all is said and done.

Up Arrow1PA Political Writers. Remember the glorious April of 2008, when the entire political world revolved around Pennsylvania? The long lead-up to the Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton brought us legendary speeches and unforgettable debates. Nothing in 2012 even came close to that experience. Pennsylvania, though, may yet have another say in a party’s nominating process. Some Republicans want to move the commonwealth’s 2016 primary up to March 15th, where (along with Florida, Illinois and Missouri) PA can be part of a Super Tuesday. Sure party leaders are hesitant about multiple elections, but come on! Iowa and New Hampshire have been hogging all the fun for too long.

Down ArrowTim Tebow. Finally, this week we learned from that same PPP poll that Tim Tebow is quite politically divisive. It turns out that among Eagles fans, 77% of Republicans approve of the Tebow signing while just 36% of Democrats are in favor. It also turns out that Tebow has one rabid fan base. We’ve never seen such passionate comments before, but we’ve learned our lesson. This is not politics, this is Tebow there are rules. Never again will we criticize the hero with the 47.9% completion percentage.

The tweet of the week goes to the Patriot-News’ John Micek for reminding us that no matter where we can from or what party we belong to, we can all agree that FIFA is horrible.

18 Responses

  1. The budget/pension/mandated costs from the state are the major part of these budgets and it isn’t just the the taxing system of budget for individual districts! The State created the basis for this hodgepodge as individual legislators didn’t want to bear the responsibility for budget and sought to pretend this is a fair system instead of a segregated one.

    The history of the last 60 years of the legislature in their processes is the problem. The present 500+ systems budgets and curriculum were basically determined by the State Legislatures. That is the way our schools were segregated as large new middle class populations were formed in the suburbs as there was middle class flight from the cities.

    The newer districts were created, the state cut their contribution and percentage of funding and the wealthier suburbanites were allowed to pay for their new districts with their (right) to collect higher taxes! The State continued to dictate curriculum, building codes and pension plans at the State level. This was a sham on the public who were all too anxious to move away from the decaying cities as the industries and the jobs left.

    Thus, the so-called budget crisis was caused by a slow and steady decline in taxes as the legislature increased the mandates on pensions, curriculum, special education and other mandates. That is the real history that we have to deal with.

    The fact is that the pension crisis is made at the Legislature as is the faulted way in which this state segregates our educational systems. And we must now pay the price for the last pension increase that gave the legislators and teachers an untenable amount. The answer is to cut the pensions back to the previous percentages for legislators and NEW teachers and examine a better way to cut the costs of having so many districts by consolidation.

  2. Actually, Montco PA Dem, I’m not. I think Charters can work in some places but I’m very supportive of public schools. I went to public school. But you can’t have the state being responsible for paying significant education costs but have no control over the budgets of the individuals school districts. It just won’t work. So if school district budgets continue to raise, does the Legislature have to raise the sales tax and income tax again to pay for it? And if they say, will school district go back to raising property taxes.

    Nor can we have an arbitrary tax shift, as in the governor’s proposal, where some people would pay NO (zero) property taxes. Seriously?! So others around the state can pay the entire bill for them?? That’s not right or fair.

    If this property tax issue is so great, as the Governor says, put it on the ballot and let the people decide if they want this massive tax shift. Bet you will never hear Wolf ask for such a vote… cause it would never pass.

  3. Tom, by making “public education” the boogeyman for state taxes and revenue, you’re sounding suspiciously like one of the fringe rightwing clowns who want to defund the public schools and replace them with charters, vouchers, and for-profit private operations. I hope that’s not where you’re coming from.

  4. Brad, I appreciate your statesman like approach. We do have a funding formula problem in PA and that is being worked on and should help some of the poorer schools. But we do not have a shortage of money going into public education in this state. $28 Billion spent on education each year when you count state and local and federal dollars. Money is not the problem. Nor should we be looking for a way to replace ONE-time stimulus money from Washington as if it was money the schools has always received. Enough of that false narrative, please!

  5. Montco PA Dem, I don’t want to “temporarily” reduce property taxes as Wolf proposes. It’s the worst part of his plan. The state keeps part of the revenue and property taxes go down (for some…very little) for only a few years.

    I think we are all focused on the wrong side of this discussion. It should not be about revenue and it can’t be about state sales tax and income taxes (in either Dem or GOP plans) so long as the state does not control the cost of public education. It makes no sense. 500 School Boards sign labor contracts…but the state pays the bill. You can’t have a system like that. I’d rather keep it as it is. At least I know every dollar of the property tax goes to the school district. Not to Harrisburg to be re-distributed by other districts.

  6. Peggy, you only point to things he “plans” to do. In other words, he talks a lot (like he did on the campaign trail), but he has done nothing. It’s very weird how he has handed all the power of the Governor’s office over to Katie McGinty (who is ferociously ambitious and will gladly take that power).

  7. I believe it is time to quell the partisan content and speak to the fact that we can’t get education, roads and other basic services by promising a fantasy that we do have not to raise and/or adjust our tax base.

    There is much talk but we have had the ill-advised raising of legislaturive and other pensions and the inanely faulty taxation and underestimated contributions against a defined pension plan! This was due to the insanity of not following an actuarially based plan in a timely fashion. It was permitted by the same type of political carping we see on this page.

    Those we had elected to our Legislature and Governorship in the past have failed. That is the fact. The failure was rampant and we must recognize that fact!

    I would hope we would all support legitimate negotiation and sound statesmanship to solve this problem instead of becoming like theater critics. This is not theater anymore our schools our roads and our bridges are in danger of systems failure. Our vital public services are in danger.

    Let the sincere negotiations begin and let us stop this negative and overly partisan rhetoric in order to fix our education, roads, lives and futures.

  8. Tom, it’s pretty simple — do you want to lower or get rid of the property tax or not? If you want to reduce it or eliminate it, as many Pennsylvanians do, you’re going to need to replace the money somehow. Slamming Wolf for making his own proposal, while similar ones are on the table from the Repub side is about as hypocritical as you can get.

  9. Peggy, I agree that we all should respect each others views. But I have a problem when people only tell part of the story when making their point…and leave out important information. You mention…”Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget restores $1 billion in funding to education and cuts property taxes.” But you fail to mention that he increases the personal income tax by 20 percent, raises the sales and expends the items to be taxed — all costing taxpayers billions in new taxes. That’s why his numbers are so low. Voters have come to realize ALL the specifics of his campaign promises and they simply do not support such a massive tax shift. And that’s what it is, a tax shift. No one is saving money. Even the Independent Fiscal Office made that point about his proposed tax increases.

  10. I am noting to get into a contest with anyone. I know that Governor Wolf is doing a terrific job and has accomplished more then the previous Governor. This is American and we should all respect each others views.

  11. And Larry is right, you’ve basically just copy-and-pasted Wolf’s campaign brochure.

  12. What has Governor Wolf done – Department of Human Services (DHS) is eliminating the SNAP asset test. The elimination of the SNAP asset test will save approximately 3.5 millions annually.

    Investing in early childhood education

    As part of the MobilePA Challenge, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is unveiling a new Get Help Now mobile-friendly site created by Harrisburg Area Community College students to improve access to addiction resources.

    The MobilePA Challenge is an initiative from the Governor’s Office of Transportation, Innovation, Management, and Efficiency (GO-TIME) that partners students with state agencies to develop mobile websites and applications.

    Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget restores $1 billion in funding to education and cuts property taxes.

    Governor Wolf has a plan to improve home and community-based care services for Pennsylvania’s seniors.

    Governor Wolf has expanded the Medicaid health insurance program.

    If you want more information, Google Governor Tom Wolf and you will see for yourself Governor Wolf’s accomplishments.

  13. How does Toomey get an up arrow? He is an incumbent with a ton of money and the D’s are still fighting…shouldn’t he be miles ahead, or at least at 50%

    Also he went down in polls, how is it a good thing that he’s edging out a serious challenger by 4% and the margin of error is 3.5?

  14. It wasn’t that long ago that a person could actually announce they were running DURING petition season. If PA is really the deciding vote in the Senate campaigns of 2016, the $$$ will be available immediately by one or two richie riches who have the money to subsidize a candidacy through independent expenditures

    This AG talk is likely nothing more than political banter. Would the Democrats really nominate another candidate without any substantive prosecutorial experience, or for that matter professional legal experience? The Democratic Party in PA is rudderless. Shapiro would be a great U.S. Senator.

  15. And shouldn’t Kathleen Kane get an up arrow for managing to stay out of the news for a whole week?

  16. Peggy, name one thing Wolf has done. He’s been all about campaign-style talk with no action (other than to pick fights with the Senate, for some reason).

  17. Tom Wolf has done more for Pennsylvania since January 20th then Corbett did in four years! Your polls are wrong. As far as President Obama – I feel the same way – your polls are wrong. Both deserve credit for their hard work for ALL people! James Carville is right – we live in Alabama.

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