Saturday, March 28, 2015

Corbett's so-called compromise

With the clock ticking on this year's legislative session, Gov. Corbett calls for "compromise" on a transportation bill. But his "compromise" seems to be a vote on Republican desires.

Corbett's so-called compromise

(A brief conversation twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a/k/a BE)

JB: Yo, chief, see TC was in Pittsburgh Wednesday pushing a "compromise" on transportation/mass transit funding?

BE: I did. He held a Rendell-like press conference, visuals and all, standing by a bad bridge, holding a piece of another bad bridge, saying public safety and the state economy are at risk without a fix.

JB: Finally, right? A sensible photo-op to make his point. It's a whole new TC.

BE: But isn't his "compromise" simply asking Democrats to fold and back a Republican plan linking a reduction in the prevailing wage to more money for roads and bridges?

JB: Sure seems that way. While asking lawmakers to work together he also called the GOP proposal to cut union pay on some state projects "abundantly reasonable in my mind."

BE: Yeah, well, if your like most Democrats, whose votes are needed to pass the bill, TC's mind is the only place going after union pay is "abundantly reasonable."

JB: And why, if transportation funds are so critically needed to protect public safety, are Republicans linking union stuff to the issue? I mean the Republican Senate passed a funding measure without such linkage. Why can't the Republican House?

BE: Or, if the House GOP insists on a prevailing wage cut, why not just unlink it, pass it on it's own -- they control the House -- and send it to the Senate?

JB: Good point. Except without the wage-linkage it appears there aren't enough lawmakers in Corbett's own party willing to vote for any new spending for anything.

BE: So public safety takes a back seat to GOP ideological allegiance to no new spending and Democrats' campaign-contribution-driven allegiance to unions?

JB: Yep. Another example of how both parties put their own interests ahead of, in this case, public safety and the state economy.

BE: And how Corbett views "compromise" -- do it my way.

JB: Onward and upward, boss. Our political system at work.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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