During the past few weeks, publications across the commonwealth have chosen to view with rose-colored glasses the past eight years of Gov. Tom Wolf’s tenure in Pennsylvania.
Most Pennsylvanians outside of the Harrisburg bubble remember it differently.
Let’s start with Wolf’s handling of the budget. He likes to take credit for the current budget surplus. What he doesn’t disclose is that all annual budgets are approved by the General Assembly. Republicans held the line on Wolf’s budget proposals that would have inflated the budget and hiked taxes. For instance, he called for a 6% spending increase in 2020. In his last proposed budget, he wanted a 10.9% increase in spending. This would have resulted in a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year and a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27. Pennsylvania’s fiscal house is in order because of smart stewardship of taxpayer dollars in the General Assembly.
Wolf did his best to stifle economic growth and job growth. He proposed 14 tax hikes throughout his tenure, including a $4.6 billion tax hike in his first budget address. He used unelected bureaucrats to create costly regulations on businesses, entrepreneurs and non-government schools.
Wolf did all he could to stifle one of Pennsylvania’s most promising paths to economic prosperity, energy production. One of his first acts was a moratorium on drilling leases on state lands. Almost every single one of his budget proposals included a tax on natural gas companies. These thankfully were thwarted by the General Assembly.
Wolf’s parting gift to the people of Pennsylvania was his unilateral decision to join the commonwealth into the Regional Green House Gas Initiative (RGGI). This northeast version of the Paris Climate Accords will cost the people of Pennsylvania an estimated $461 million dollars a year and quadruple energy bills. RGGI is projected to result in skyrocketing energy costs, plant closures and job loss on a mass scale.
With the ongoing war in Ukraine, Pennsylvania could have been positioned to be a premier natural gas exporter. Instead, Wolf’s war against Pennsylvania energy turned away prospective investments. Imagine how strong our economy would be if there was growth in our energy sector.
Wolf’s most damaging legacy, however, was his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He exercised unprecedented authority during the crisis to shutter small businesses, declare essential and non-essential jobs, shut down schools, impose unilateral restrictions on commerce, keep people in their homes, spend public resources without the approval of the people and restrict the very freedoms we hold dear.
The governor’s measures widened the gap between the haves and the have nots in our commonwealth. Big corporations were never forced to shut down and instead profited off the closure of their competition. Wealthier parents were able to place their children in private schools or hire tutors. Under Wolf, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.
Meanwhile, we still see the many empty storefronts in our communities that used to be home to small businesses. Students from low-income households, especially those without the means to pay for high-speed internet access, fell behind their peers in the world of virtual classrooms.
On March 18, 2020, the Wolf administration issued the now famous directive to long-term care facilities to accept COVID-positive residents after release from hospitals. The ensuing fallout from the March 18 directive was predictable and tragic. This exposed our commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents to severe illness and death. By May, cases of the virus in nursing homes spread like wildfire. Roughly two-thirds of COVID deaths then were residents of long-term care facilities. In several counties, 100% of all COVID deaths at the time were in these very facilities.
Around the nation, we saw examples of other governors who took a different path to dealing with the pandemic. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis followed the science by protecting those in nursing homes and prioritizing the vulnerable for care and personal protective equipment distribution. He re-opened businesses and schools well before Pennsylvania. In September 2020, he lifted all capacity restrictions on small businesses and required all school districts to offer in-class instruction.
Florida’s economic output in 2020 shrank by only approximately 3% while Pennsylvania’s shrunk by 4.4%. The current unemployment rate in Florida is 2.6% compared to 4% in Pennsylvania.
In May 2021, the people of Pennsylvania had enough and voted to limit the governor’s emergency declaration powers. Never again shall a governor have unilateral power to mandate edicts without the General Assembly. The power was rightfully returned to the people and their representatives in the General Assembly.
Wolf’s record-breaking 60 vetoes throughout his eight years was emblematic of his refusal to work with others. Among those vetoes include commonsense bills to limit parole for violent offenders, ban discrimination against the unvaccinated, increase transparency in school curriculum and expand scholarship programs for poor families to escape failing schools. He even vetoed legislation that would have protected women’s rights not to be oppressed by male patriarchal domination in sports.
The new administration can chart a different path. Will Gov. Josh Shapiro work with the General Assembly or will he act unilaterally? Time will only tell.
The worst part of the Wolf administration was when the Republicans passed ACT77 which was unconstitutional you can thank ex Speaker Mike Turzai for this deal that he made with Wolf. And Doug voted for it which helped Shapiro win in a cakewalk
Act 77 was unilaterally changed by Wolf’s “puppet” state Supreme Court. They obviously need to review the concept of “ separate, but equal branches of government”. Courts uphold laws. They don’t change them with partisan rulings.
I hope he will be held responsible for the deaths he caused . And for hiding the masks at the State Farm show buildings . And most importantly the mail in illegal ballots.
Thank-you for publishing facts that speak for themselves. It’s discouraging that people seem incapable of self-control in that they let emotion rule them & therefore cannot take facts at face value & objectively weigh if they are indeed good or bad for PA. Thank-you Senator Mastriano – keep standing, fighting, and serving. The myriad of people on here merely hurling insults have nothing of value to say, and yet you have fought for them as well. May God bless you.
Thank YOU! Please join me in a new era of Conservatism by embracing the Diaper Life. We ARE the silent majority. We WILL be wearing diapers.
Thank you for putting the facts of Wolf’s record out so clearly. God bless you and our commonwealth.
Doug Mastriano, who lost big-time, can’t accept his loss and is now crying about it to anyone who will listen. Guess what? You’re an absolute loser.
Nothing in your comments refutes facts stated in this piece. Can you refute anything written here? What is stated most assuredly harmed those of us in PA – certainly didn’t help us.
Thank YOU for supporting me and my campaign. Please join me in the new Diaper Life Plan; all conservatives are urged to proudly (and loudly!) wear diapers.
Everyone in PA is a loser bc Shitperio and the Demonic dems stole another election. Good luck to all of us trying to pay gas bills to heat our homes, fuel our cars, good luck to our children being taught they can change their gender and have pornographic books in their schools, good luck as our religious rights and freedoms are marched right out of Pennsylvania, good luck as crime increses across the commonwealth and no one is held accountable, good luck to all the illegal aliens bussed into the cities in PA and good luck to the Pennsylvanians who cant get jobs as a result. The population of PA will continue to decrease. Everyone in PA is a loser bc of Shitperio.
Nay Pa is the loser. Senator Mastriano is a man of integrity!!! J didn’t even debate or campaign!!
Ship of Fools, Sail away from me! Just like the has been Trump! He has to take a photo with ‘Skinny Joey’ Merlino to get his picture in the Newspaper! Guess What? You’re an absolute loser.
On Election Day alone, Doug and Oz won. What “lost” it for him was the almost 700k (250k of those unverified ballots sent out prior to Election Day) mail-in early voting by democrats, of which MANY wanted to change their vote AFTER the Senate debate!
“Facts are stubborn things”. Wolf’s record speaks for itself.
Thank you for running for governor, because we the people asked you to. Thank you for remaining true to your Christian beliefs. Thank you for running a clean campaign. God saw everything- he knows the truth. May he show mercy to our state and country still. 🙏🏻😞🇺🇸
Spoken like a true sore loser who sulked in a corner and no-showed when the winning guy was sworn in
You’re nothing but a troll who could care less about the citizens of this state! Go back into your hole!
Spoken like a clueless comrade.
Ridiculous comment above! It’s time Democrats start admitting the horror inflicted so articulately wielded out in this excellent article!
It’s time Democrats start admitting the horror inflicted that is so articulately spelled out in this Op-Ed! They can always denigrate people and can never provide a factual defense. Democratic policies are destroying our state! You’d rather have high gas prices and people dying in nursing homes than have a good God-fearing Republican Governor! Shameful!
Like the no -show who hid in his basement and refused to debate like a man? Shitperio is a scared little weenie who will continue the rapid decline of the state. Good luck paying gas bills 🤡
No nobody even cared about his swearing in!!
oh my – Doug just needs to resign to the retirement pile. Nothing makes him happier than to talk bad about others. Maybe if the “alt-Right” republicans would have worked with the Governor – vetoes would not have been necessary.
All the Op-Ed’s and articles he writes, is nothing more than the blame game, it is very offensive.
His HUGE loss in November should have told him something about what the people of PA really want. WE do not want his “alt-right chistian” beliefs jammed into our daily lives.
Speak for yourself! You don’t speak for me or anyone else in Pennsylvania! Let’s get that straight right now!
And as far as Doug goes, he was the ONLY ONE not slinging mud at his opponent!
Or have you forgotten all of the pitiful commercials that Little Josh paid big bucks for? And not his own big bucks either which only proves how BOUGHT & PAID FOR he really is!
Go back into your little bubble and let us go on living our lives as we see fit because Shapiro does not and never will govern me!
All Mastriano did is “sling mud” as you say, and he’s continuing to do. Just look at his fighting for freedom Facebook page. I’m a Republican and so glad he lost. He won t even talk to those of us who don’t agree 100% with him.
You’d rather have pornographic books shoved down your kids throats at schools? Ok got it.
He is a man of integrity!!!! Not into corruption for the children like j!!
I’m Dung Mastriano, and I approve all of the criticism in the comments section.
Why did you give space to an insurrectionist who wouldn’t even take questions from the press or allow media into his campaign events? Great job sharing in this guy’s shame and Confederate cosplaying. Yay you got clicks
I agree. this was disgraceful to allow insurrectionists to have a forum in a venue like this.
Why would PoliticsPA publish anything from this traitorous, white nationalist, fraudulent elector piece-of-shit?
Wolf’s record-breaking 60 vetoes throughout his eight years was emblematic of how terrible the PA GOP is (Mastriano in particular). How many vetoes were GOP attempts to ban abortions?
Doug belongs in jail for his part in the Jan 6th insurrection.
Doug sure seems to care about the gas companies than the people of Pennsylvania or the US Constitution. How much money does he receive from these companies, for fighting to help them pollute PA?
Seems to me that Doug is a source of natural gas from both ends.
Either way…. Doug, please go f*ck yourself and just go away.
Mastriano doesn’t seem to understand that Shapiro spent $2 million dollars in the primary advertising what a total and complete MAGA-hole Doug is, so that only the dumbest Republicans (aka the primary base) would pick someone as unelectable as him.
Ding Dong Doug…. Once an Insurrectionist…. Always an Insurrectionist.
No matter how hard Mastriano tries he cannot be gracious. Doug…If people agreed with you why are you not sworn in a Gov this week???
You were hoodwinked! Just like you were for the Senator who obviously doesn’t belong in Washington representing real Pennsylvanians.
That’s just crybaby nonsense and what I will remember the most about Mastriano is him being a sore loser and not attending the Inauguration even though he remains a member of the General Assembly. No class, sir. None.
…Or like the little weenie baby who refused to debate a real man. A man who served his country for 30 yrs. Shitperio is scum and will drive PA into the ground. Move out now before its too late and your children are forced into mental illness.
What a loser.