It’s been the elephant in the room for a long time now and Governor Corbett is finally addressing it head on.
In the Corbett-Cawley campaign’s latest commercial, the Governor talks straight to the camera in order to refute the belief that he cut the state’s education funding.
“Tom Wolf and his special interests groups have spent millions trying to mislead you that I cut education spending,” Corbett states. “As they say, the numbers don’t lie.”
At this point a voice-over narrator accuses Gov. Rendell of “hiding” his own cuts through stimulus money. Using a chart that doesn’t include the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, they assert Corbett “cleaned up his [Rendell’s] mess”.
“And recently we secured $51 million more to be used exclusively for early childhood development programs,” Corbett concludes. “And now you know the truth.”
In case you didn’t know what “special interests groups” Gov. Corbett was referring to, his campaign made it more clear.
“Secretary Tom Wolf and the public sector union bosses have spent tens of millions of dollars lying about Governor Tom Corbett’s record investment in state education funding,” stated Communications Director Chris Pack. “The undisputable truth is that it was Wolf’s mentor, Ed Rendell, gutted state education funding and replaced it with one-time federal stimulus dollars. It is a true shame that Secretary Wolf would continue perpetuating the lie when the facts prove that Pennsylvania is spending more on education funding than ever before.”
Did Corbett Cut Education?
The argument on this issue is rather complex. While the Governor is correct that the expiration of federal stimulus money left him with this problem, he also made clear he thought the state shouldn’t have taken stimulus funds and never called for new ones. He also pledged back during the 2010 campaign not to raise taxes.
Therefore, Gov. Corbett had no alternative but to reduce school spending in some way for some period of time.
Jeffrey Sheridan, the Wolf campaign press secretary, responded with a statement to PoliticsPA.
“The facts speak for themselves. Tom Corbett took an ax to education and cut $1 billion from our schools. As result of his failed policies, nearly eighty percent of school districts plan to raise property taxes, 27,000 educators were laid off, and class sizes across the state have increased.”
Sheridan also sent a link to the Wolf campaign website’s page on education.
Ultimately, this issue depends greatly on the voter’s own point of view and Governor Corbett is seeking to change Pennsylvanians perceptions that he cut education spending. Whether he succeeds with this ad will have a large effect on whether his re-election effort succeeds.