Corbett eases off no tax hike pledge
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has said he did his best to live up to his 2010 campaign promise not to raise taxes, but he isn't making the same pledge as he runs for re-election.
In an interview with Associated Press Harrisburg correspondent Marc Levy, Corbett noted that since he was elected, state sales and income taxes haven't risen. Some say the impact fees now levied on gas drilling companies and a gasoline surcharge associated with last year's transportation bill amount to tax hikes.
"I'm living up to my pledge the best I can," Corbett said in the interview, adding that he'll keep doing what he's doing if he gets a second term, but isn't making any pledge.
Kind of refreshing to hear a politician acknowledge the truth.
Complaints and 'scandal'
In other campaign news, Democrat Tom Wolf's coordinated campaign has released a new web video (above) about the "scandal" enveloping the Corbett administration. It's mostly clips of news coverage of the embarrassing story first published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that there was little evidence Ron Tomalis, Corbett's former education secretary, was doing much work for the $139,542 salary he was getting as a special adviser to the governor on education.
Corbett insisted Tomalis was doing his job, but he offered little evidence of it, and Tomalis soon resigned. After that Steve Esack of the Morning Call revealed that Tomalis got a 25 percent pension boost from his special adviser gig.
Corbett got a more favorable headline Wednesday when Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the Republican chairman of the state senate education committee said the state education department showed him documentation that Tomalis had not been a ghost employee.
But material further down in Bumsted's story wasn't so helpful. State records showed no meetings between Tomalis and the governor, and the education chairman said he was irritated that the education department wasn't "being transparent."
Also this week, the Republican state committee filed a novel complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of State asserting that the Wolf campaign and the Campaign for a Fresh Start, the Democratic committee headed by defeated gubernatorial candidate Katie McGinty were violating the state election code.
The complaint argues that since both committees were essentially created by Wolf to advance his campaign, the law requires that they have the same treasurer and disclose "affiliated and connected organizations" in their public filings.
Wolf campaign spokesman Jeffery Sheridan said the complaint was a political press release that "made no sense and said nothing."
As somebody who's covered a lot of elections in this state I found the complaint a little confusing. And it's noteworthy that it contained no allegation that the sources or uses of campaign money were being hidden.
Spokesman Ron Ruman said the Department of State has received the complaint, and that in such cases its staff reviews the allegations and refers any apparent violations of law to the state attorney general or a county district attorney.