We are approaching the eve of the 2015-2016 legislative session for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and newly elected Senate President Jake Corman believes that he can continue Tom Corbett’s failed education policies if he doesn’t get what he wants – busting the pension system for newly hired state employees. According to Jake Corman’s train of thought, it’s as if Tom Corbett’s double digit defeat to Tom Wolf never happened.
But here’s the thing.
Ever since Tom Corbett’s disastrous cuts to public education and public higher education in 2011, education became one of the top issues for voters and was the main issue almost a year ahead of primary night. During the Democratic Primary, the candidates made public education funding, and where the funding would come from – IE) a severance tax on natural gas, the mandate for their campaigns. Tom Wolf goes on to win the primary campaigning for a five percent drillers tax to fund public education and goes on to win the general election on that mandate. To combat the babbling bullshit coming from the Corbett campaign on education funding, the main mandate Corbett ran on was blame the teachers, bust the pension system and try to find new revenues to fix the education crisis he caused.
In July, the Delco Times reported:
Corbett, who faces a tough re-election bid against Democrat Tom Wolf, tied increases in school property taxes to the state’s ballooning pension liabilities. To cover “out-of-control pension costs,” Corbett said, school districts have raised taxes.
“I urge the citizens of Pennsylvania to join in this fight and demand that the Legislature address pension reform,” Corbett said in a statement released by his press office. “It is the most important fiscal challenge facing the commonwealth. Pennsylvania families and taxpayers deserve solutions from their elected officials.”
And in August, the York Daily Review wrote:
Corbett has argued that rising pension costs will crowd out room in the state budget for other things, like education funding, and will lead school districts to raise property taxes higher to pay for their share of pensions.
If you weren’t living under the same rock that State Senator Jake Corman was living under for the better part of 2014, you can obviously see what the two mandates were and whose mandate won on election night. Spoiler alert, breaking the pension system and holding school children hostage for four more years didn’t prevail.
But don’t tell that to the newly elected Senate President, because he truly wants to continue Corbett’s failed legacy.
During the winter recess, Corman told the Post Gazette that “we’re not going to consider any new revenue until we do pension reform,” and after promising to work with the incoming governor, Corman continued with “but there’s no tax — a Marcellus Shale tax, tobacco tax, whatever you want — there’s no sin tax that’s going to cover our costs for public pensions and Medicaid. There’s just not enough money there.”
Grab the popcorn and sit back folks because the new Senate President sounds like Corbett-Lite.