I guess one can make the argument that House Bill 2013 – a bill that would have established public private partnerships, grants 25 year land grabs and transfers decision making power to a 9 member political appointed board that mirrors the 5 member Philadelphia School Reform Commission – is neoliberal speak for “modernizing” an underfunded Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or an ideological plan carried out by the Republican Party on a national and state level to privatize some of our most treasured assets that came out of the conservationist movement that included John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt and Pennsylvania’s very own Gifford Pinchot.
Whatever the issue maybe, this is something that Governor Wolf has fought against in his first year and a half in office. He staved off frontal attacks against our liquor stores, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year and he has gone after those sitting on the Philadelphia School Reform and campaigned on the dissolution of the political appointed school board. But when it comes to the issues surrounding our state parks, the Governor’s hypocrisy is leaving him high and dry.
A possible grand bargain to get an on time budget, that is why.
When the fight to privatize the parks erupted last week, the Post Gazette reported:
Asked if Gov. Tom Wolf supports the parks development legislation, his spokesman, Jeffrey Sheridan, issued a statement saying, “The administration is engaged in productive conversations with Rep. Ellis regarding this legislation. We will continue working with him to reach agreement on the language.”
And in the very next paragraph, the Governor’s spokesman declined to answer questions if this is has anything to do with budget negotiations, but those living outside of the beltway can read between the lines.
Since the bill went down in a 77 – 123 vote, a motion to reconsider the vote has been filed. Republican and Democratic leadership alike voted for this and they may give Governor Wolf a privatization bill he will sign off on.