The budget stand-off was undoubtedly the biggest story of the week and it certainly extended itself into the Governor’s race.
This week the Governor’s camp spent most of their efforts on defending Corbett’s actions while his opponent challenged the incumbent’s budgetary math.
Governor Corbett’s decision to withhold his signature to the budget plan was a risky political move but his campaign was sure to highlight those voices that praised his action.
The Corbett-Cawley campaign sent out a link to an editorial from the Bucks County Courier-Times that applauded the Governor’s conviction.
“As problematic as not having a budget is, it pales in comparison to the pension crisis,” they wrote. “And by crisis we mean a huge mess that threatens to bankrupt the state as well as just about every school district in the commonwealth that likewise has to help patch up gaping holes in the state’s pension funds.”
“Lawmakers, who are partially to blame for this mess, need to do as the governor asked and get to work,” they concluded. “Failure is not an option.”
They also touted another article from Gene Marks of Philadelphia Magazine.
“But on one issue, the Governor is right: pension reform,” wrote Marks. “He’s right to use the lack of pension reform measures as a reason to hold off on signing the state’s budget. He’s right to use it as a negotiating point in the funding of our schools. He’s right to fight for this unpopular measure even if it means depleting his already-depleted reserves of political capital this election year.”
Additionally, the Corbett campaign accused Tom Wolf of rooting for failure.
“Why is Tom Wolf so upset about Pennsylvanians going back to work?,” asked Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack. “Wolf has been spending a considerable amount of time trying to talk down all of the good news regarding our state’s falling unemployment rate under Governor Corbett’s leadership.”
Pack also doubled down on his contention that Wolf was trying to sabotage the budget process.
Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Tom Wolf criticized the budget plan in an interview with the Associated Press, saying that it was built on “smoke and mirrors.”
“I think there is some game playing going on here,” Wolf said.
In response, Wolf proposed his own three methods to balance the budget: a 5% severance tax on natural gas drilling, expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and closing tax loopholes.
“I would not presume to instruct the governor, but this is a budget that I think is a logical consequence of the failed leadership and failed policies that he’s promoted for the past four years,” the Democratic nominee asserted.
Finally, Wolf Campaign Manager Joe Shafer sent out an email to keep supporters confidence in check after the latest Franklin & Marshall poll showed Wolf with a 22-point lead.
“Today’s new F&M poll that shows Tom Wolf in the lead is exciting news — but if anyone is going on vacation for the 4th of July thinking this election is locked up, they’re wrong,” Shafer wrote.
He then proceeded to list three reasons why Governor Corbett is still a dangerous opponent. First, the Governor indicated in his interview with the AP that his campaign will be airing ads soon against Wolf. Second, the PA GOP have about twice as much cash on hand as the Democrats. Third, outside spending remains a constant unknown.
“This election is too important to risk losing,” he concluded.
Give the pension reform of 2010 a chance Governor Corprett.
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