Dems bash Corbett for new taxes and fees supported by Dems

Gov. Corbett pushed for new taxes and fees to raise money to repair Pennsylvania's transportation infrastructure.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party just bashed Gov. Corbett for raising gas taxes and motorist fees, even though many state House and Senate Democrats voted for that legislation.

State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn cited motorist fee increases that started today as part of a transportation funding bill signed into law in November by Corbett. That legislation raises $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion by its fifth year in place for road and bridge repairs and mass transit.

Burn bashed Corbett for violating the Americans For Tax Reform pledge he signed in February 2010 when he was first running for governor. Democrats previously have criticized Corbett for signing the no-new-taxes pledge.

"This is a man who campaigned on and most likely won on that pledge," Burn said. "And then he turned around and broke it."

The legislation, House Bill 1060, was passed in the Senate by a vote of 43-7 on Nov. 20 and in the House the next day by a vote of 113-85.  Corbett signed it into law on Nov. 25, calling it "a truly bipartisan bill that will keep our families safe, create good paying jobs and keep Pennsylvania moving."

Since then, Corbett's re-election campaign has touted the legislation as delivering "real solutions" as a job creator that supports the state's agricultural industry that use the roads and minority-owned businesses that seek road construction contracts.

There have been political blow-backs for Corbett.  Americans for Tax Reform said the legislation violated the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" signed by Corbett.  And conservative activist Bob Guzzardi, waging a long-shot primary election challenge against Corbett, cites the legislation as a motivating factor for entering the race.

UPDATE, 3:00 pm: Corbett campaign spokesman Chris Pack suggests (not really) that the Democratic criticism today was a result of "April Fool's Day."

"Clearly this is an April fool’s joke by the Democratic Chairman since I cannot imagine he would actually attack a transportation bill that passed both the Senate and House with strong bipartisan support and is an issue that the Democratic candidates for Governor also support," Pack said via email.