Thursday, July 30, 2015

Party Loyalty

Does Corbett have a GOP problem with his GOP budget?

Party Loyalty


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

BE: Hey, JB, Help me figure something out. Even though Gov. Corbett's doing exactly what he said he'd do before his election last year, and even though his party controls both houses of the legislature, it looks like his fellow Republicans are unwilling to commit political suicide on behalf of his budget. Whatever happened to party loyalty?

JB: Oh, thee of small vision. Do not be duped by what seems to be.

BE: Well, wise one, what seems to be is plenty of blowback from GOP lawmakers unhappy with deep cuts in higher education, unease with pushing basic ed costs down to local communities and fear that, as local representatives facing re-election next year, they'll get blamed.

JB: Sure, that's what SEEMS to be. But remember this: lawmakers in Pennsylvania don't lose reelections. Their rates of retention are always in the 90-plus percentages.

BE: So their being upset is....

JB: Not for sure, but for show.

BE: But Corbett seems to be anti-everything but business and that could mean....

JB: It WILL mean protests along the line of MANKIND SHOULD BE YOUR BUSINESS!! But protests come and go. Lawmakers last forever. And Corbett's playing all sides of the equation. Read betwixt the lines.

BE: OK. Let's see. No taxes. That's good. Education cuts could be bad. But such cuts mean no taxes so that's good. But maybe local townships and cities will have to raise taxes to make up for the loss of state aid and that's bad.

JB: Look around the edges. A little something for everybody. He cancelled a $200 million prison in western Pennsylvania and wants to push programs to reduce the costs of incarceration. Fiscally sound AND a bow to the left.

BE: But he's a law and order guy, so he also signed four death warrants.

JB: Right. He cancelled a health program for lower-income folks but he just extended the heating-aid program (LIHEAP) for lower-income families through April 15.

BE: His budget cuts could slam Philly but he gave the Naval Shipyard $42 million to keep it in business and save Philly jobs.

JB: Now you're seeing the light! Spread the wealth and the ideology, don't raise taxes, let the legislature grumble then pass pretty much what he wants KNOWING they'll all be safe next year.

BE: Brilliant.

JB: I even hear he's considering a bold higher-ed funding plan.

BE: Oh?

JB: Yep. When Penn State plays Temple in the NCAA tourney this week in Tuscon, the winner gets the other school's state funding.

BE: Genius!

JB: Grrrr.



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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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