Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Guv's First Anniversary

Gov. Corbett's first anniversary was marked by fire from the House Democratic leader who calls the Guv's initial year in office an "all-out-attack" on working families.

Guv's First Anniversary

If you heard a  squeak out of the Capitol in Harrisburg this week it was a Democratic assessment of Gov. Corbett's first year in office. He was inaugurated Jan. 18, 2011.

To mark the anniversary, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody of Pittsburgh issued a press release charging that Corbett's year was spent waging a "relentless all-out-attack" on the middle class and vulnerable citizens.

Dermody's support for this assessment includes the following:

Corbett kicked more than 150,000 Pennsylvanians off their Medicaid health care benefits – including 88,000 children – under the guise of “waste, fraud and abuse;"

Corbett defunded the successful adultBasic insurance program, ending health coverage for 42,000 working Pennsylvanians;

Corbett slashed more than $1 billion in funding for programs that provide critical health and safety services to women, children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and other vulnerable citizens – and cut those programs further just this month – despite having a $500 million surplus sitting unused in the state’s bank account;

Corbett slashed funding to public schools by $900 million, causing thousands of lost jobs and property tax increases across the state;

Corbett cut funding to state universities, causing tuition hikes and making college increasingly unaffordable for middle-class students and their families.

There is, of course, the administration's positio,n which was laid out in an 11-page memo last month. It calls Corbett's first year as Guv "one of the most productive in the country."

It cites such highlights as passing an on-time, no-tax budget; reducing the state vehicle fleet; taking "necessary steps" to put us on a path to prosperity (I'm thinking that would be the aforementioned cuts); advocating for small business; and signing a ban on texting while driving.

The Guv, of course, got tons of attention for his role as Attorney General and later Penn State board member in the still-unfolding story of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal and its evident cover-up.

Three points: there is no effective, consistent voice of opposition to Corbett's policies, and Democrats have no political power to alter them; voters statewide seem content with minimalist governance, which plays to Corbett's do-less-with-less plans; and while the PSU thing isn't over, further splashback is more likely to hit those  at the university or its board than Corbett.

Put this all together and you see why the Guv's first anniversary is passing almost without notice.

 

 

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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