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PA-Gov: Wolf Releases Comprehensive Policy Plan


Snowed in on a cold winter’s day? May as well curl up with a hot cup of whatever you’d like and read all about Tom Wolf’s Fresh Start for Pennsylvania Policy Plan, released by his campaign.

The 46-page document delves deeply into Wolf’s prospective policies for the state. He covers jobs, the revival of Pennsylvania’s economy, the state’s natural resources and making the government “work harder and smarter.”

Early on, it’s explained that he will fund his policy plan through a five percent extraction tax on natural gas, a 30 percent tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars, closing tax loopholes (such as the infamous Delaware loophole), addressing special interest tax subsidies, reforming the Corporate Net Income Tax, improving and modernizing government operations and building private partnerships.

Also an early note, Wolf mentions raising the minimum wage in a section entitled “Level the Playing Field,” something he called out Governor Tom Corbett for back in December 2013. This, along with setting the right to paid sick leave and making sure that all workers have equal access to employment, will help Pennsylvanians strengthen themselves and therefore their state.

Elections and Voting:

In his plan, Wolf addresses the as-of-late hot topic of campaign finance reform, where he states that he is all for it. The Center For Public Integrity recently gave Pennsylvania an “F” in its investigation because of the state’s combination of a lack of limits on contributions and poor access for the public to online finance reports.

Wolf wants to set campaign contribution limits of $5,000 per year for individuals and lobbyists, create stricter reporting requirements for contributions, establish a voluntary public financing program and require third party campaign that spend at least $10,000 per year for elections to identify all sources of funds.

The policy plan also talks about voting rights. Wolf plans to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to vote in a couple of different ways, including through the creation of online ballots and allowing for same day registration. The latter, the plan reports, has increased voting participation by up to four percentage points.


With the claim that Corbett has “gutted” Pennsylvania’s education system, Wolf states that he plans to restore the $1 billion in education cuts that Corbett made. Those cuts are the result of a reduction in federal stimulus dollars available.

Along with the lengthy list of improvements he plans on making for public education, Wolf also talks about his charter school plan, which was released late last year. Yet another hot topic, the gubernatorial candidate offers a plan to increase access to higher education for everyone. This would include making it more affordable and supporting a Pennsylvania DREAM Act.

Economic Issues:

Much of the policy addresses the current state of Pennsylvania’s economy and how Wolf plans to up its productivity. He wants to create a multi-state partnership for the easier movement of goods and services as well as the implementation of a ‘Made in Pennsylvania’ cash back program, where manufacturing companies that create middle-class jobs will be rewarded for the effort.

It is reported in the policy plan that Pennsylvania has fallen from 7th to 41st in job creation over the past few years, and Wolf plans to fix that in creating as many jobs as he can through his experience as a businessman. One of the ways he states he can do this is through the expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act, which will not only provide these new jobs but will also provide over 500,000 currently uninsured, middle and low-income Pennsylvanians with healthcare.

In regards to taxation of drilling in the Marcellus Shale, Wolf plans to use these funds to invest in schools, the state’s poor quality roads, infrastructure, economic development and workforce training. He will also ensure that companies that choose to drill in Pennsylvania do so responsibly and protect the environment.

Overall, Wolf’s policy plan contains much of what he and other Democratic candidates have talked about doing, just with many more details. He is the first to release a comprehensive policy brief that covers this breadth and depth of issues.

In the Democratic primary, Wolf faces State Treasurer Rob McCord, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former PA DEP Secretaries Katie McGinty and John Hanger, pastor Max Myers and Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.

13 Responses

  1. I would like to know were Tom stands on the property school tax relief. My school tax is a burden on me and the house sales through the state.

    Please respond to me.

  2. I really like a lot of Wolf’s ideas and it’s refreshing to see such thorough and well thought out policies. This is why I think Wolf is starting to gain some momentum and could win this primary in May. I wish other candidates, McCord, would release some substantial and informative policy papers like Wolf, McGinty, Schwartz and Hanger have. Rob can win endorsements, but that doesn’t hold a lot of water with me until I see his stances on key issues. He hasn’t shown much of anything yet other than giving soundbites to newspapers when he’s interviewed.

  3. idratherbefishingwithric: If Wolf is a real joker just who are you? At least we know who Tom Wolf is. Exactly who are you? And why are you hiding behind a ridiculous pseudonym? And yes, that is my real name above.

  4. @Rob

    you are 2 for 2 in stupid comments…hope that is short enough for you to bother reading.

    Probably why you mistakenly think Tom Wolf is “a real joker”

  5. @idratherbefishingwithric —

    Do you know Tom Wolf to think he is “a real joker”? Probably not. If you did know him, or about Pennsylvania politics generally, you probably wouldn’t think that. Everybody I know who knows one or the other doesn’t think he is “a real joker.”

    Would “a real joker” spend $10 million of his own money on a campaign when he could do other things with it? Probably not. Would “a real joker” have 2X as much cash on-hand as a guy who has been Governor for 4 years, and also the next closest rival for the Democratic nomination? Probably not. Would “a real joker” have finished 2nd in the Democratic field in amount of $ raised from others, not including himself (close behind McCord, an incumbent statewide officeholder for 6 years, and more $ raised than an incumbent Congresswoman from Philadelphia who was on Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee? Probably not. Would “a real joker” be on TV in every Pennsylvania media market except Erie (including the very expensive Philadelphia media market) several weeks before any other Democratic candidate? Probably not.

  6. @Jordan Romanus —

    He is a candidate for Governor of the 6th largest state, not Constable of a municipality. No policy paper is exhaustive. It is impossible to address every issue important to every voter in Pennsylvania. And you want the policy position paper to be longer? It is 46 pages already. Do any of the candidates address the “tipped minimum wage rate”? I will bet none of them do.

    And by the way, I believe the “tipped minimum wage” rate is tied to the ordinary minimum wage rate (as it projects a specific amount of tips per hour of service). Therefore, any increase in the minimum wage would result in a commensurate increase in the “tipped minimum wage” rate.

  7. While I think his overall economic policy is good, it’s a shame he failed to mention anything about the pathetic tipped minimum wage in our state ($2.83/hour). If he supports raising the minimum wage, it only makes to raise the tipped minimum wage as well. Hopefully he amends his policy plan with a more extensive policy plan in the near future that includes details of his tipped minimum wage position.

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