Friday, August 28, 2015

Dem Dollars

State Senate Democrats offer a "savings" plan that's likely going nowhere.

Dem Dollars


State Senate Democrats this morning were unveiling their $1.14 billion "savings" plan at a press conference in Philadelphia that I'm betting at least partially mirrors a left-leaning think tank's plan unveiled in Harrisburg just last week.

The Dems say their plan targets job training, economic development, fiscal responsibility, education and tax fairness.

Likely it also targets a rehash of past Democratic proposals and elements of last week's budget plan by "Better Choices for Pennsylvania," a coalition under the umbrella of the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center which is under the umbrella of the Keystone Research Center, which generally advocates the same policies most Democrats advocate.

For example: last week Choices said the legislature should swap out a proposed $550 million cut for public schools with new legislation to close the $500 million "Delaware Loophole" that allows companies doing business in the state but incorporated in Delaware to avoid paying PA taxes.

I'm betting Senate Democrats embrace that. As they have for years.

Choices also wants to trade Gov. Corbett's proposed $271 million cut to state universities for a $200 million tax on Marcellus Shale.

Hmmm. Think Democrats might agree?

Then there's Choices' call for restoring an already cut $125 million worth of health insurance for the working poor (adultBasic) with -- and this has been going on for years -- a call for $80 million in new taxes on cigars and smokeless tobacco.

These proposals also have something else in common: they are going nowhere.

There's nothing wrong with airing opposition-party proposals and, hey, many of them make lots of sense. But the current political reality is a function of the current political math. Republicans control the governor's office, both chambers of the legislature and, therefore, the direction of the state. Voters gave the GOP that power last year.

So don't expect any taxes on anything or any effort to close business loopholes no matter how many press conferences are held, no matter how many think-tank plans get unveiled, no matter how sensible such efforts may sound.

Republicans are in charge: they're here, they're clear, get used to it.





Daily News Political Columnist
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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

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