Friday, February 5, 2016

Would be-Pa. Gov: Cut wages, pensions, taxes to boost prosperity

Says Bruce Castor

Would be-Pa. Gov: Cut wages, pensions, taxes to boost prosperity

Gov. Corbett and possible primary challenger Bruce Castor
Gov. Corbett and possible primary challenger Bruce Castor

Montgomery County commissioner Bruce Castor, who hopes to unseat fellow Republican Tom Corbett as Pennsylvania's Governor in the next primary election, has put out a program he says will make Pennsylvania "the most prosperous state in America" by ending property taxes, cutting income taxes, trimming state and teacher pensions, and cutting construction workers' wages.

We're not sure how the math is supposed to add up -- how do lower wages and benefits mean more prosperity? and how will you pay for public schools without the property tax? Here's a point-by-point summary:

- "Cap spending by all levels of government" including state, local and school agencies to "the rate of inflation plus the rate of population growth" as a way of forcing more government spending cuts...

- "Reduce the Personal Income Tax from 3.07% to 2.80%."

- Reduce "the Corporate Net Income Tax from 9.99 to 7.99."

- Reduce "Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Compensation programs, which are among the most expensive, liberally allocated, and defrauded in the nation," by $1.5 billion a year. Castor estimates Pa. benefit fraud at $700 million a year, though he doesn't cite a source.

- Stop unions from charging "forced" dues at workplaces where they have contracts to represent employees

- End "prevailing wage" contracting rules; let hourly rates on state jobs fall to the "market wage." Corbett estimates savings at $2 billion.

- Refuse federal funds for "Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion" and offer Florida-style "meaningful choices of customized managed care plans." Castor says this would save taxpayers "$3 billion annually."

- End "corporate welfare," though Castor isn't specific as to whether this refers to business grant programs or business tax breaks, or both. "Estimated savings to the taxpayer would be $380 million annually."

- Freeze the current state pension plans and replace them with a "unified defined-contribution pension plan."

- End the public school property tax, which "is un-American" and unfair. 

- Promote tax-free savings for private education; pay favored public school teachers extra; end the public school teacher right to strike.

- Sell the state liquor stores and use the proceeds to pay off some of the state's bonds.


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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

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