Tag Archives: Gov. Corbett

Court Cases in Pennsylvania: Good vs Evil

by DocJess, Democratic Convention Watch, 8/1/13

Two interesting happenings in the courts of Pennsylvania this week. Both of them relate directly to Tom Corbett and show him to be the kind of person dedicated to personal gain and opposed to human rights. What a governor….

Certainly you remember the Jerry Sandusky case: the coach who was abusing young boys for years and is now in prison for life. When pedophiles are brought to light, it is the obligation of those in charge to DO SOMETHING to prevent further abuse. Tom Corbett, as Attorney General, chose not to, and instead to take $640,000 from Sandusky for his gubernatorial campaign coffers. He’s not being charged, yet, but the three men who oversaw Jerry Sandusky are now going to trial. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, and Penn State ex-athletic director Tim Curley are charged with knowing about Sandusky’s abuse, not reporting it to police, and then lying about it to the Grand Jury. Specifically, perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

My guess is that Corbett’s complicity will come up at some point. And probably someone will end up mentioning that he’s up there with Bob McDonnell for turning the governor’s mansion into a pay-to-play site. Read this.

So, in the battle of good vs evil, we have a bunch of powerful men putting their own institutions (Penn State and the Pennsylvania Legal System) ahead of the protection of young boys. EVIL.

In the other court case, the Pennsylvania Board of Health is suing Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes. Hanes is the man in charge of issuing marriage licenses. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, he started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples: 34 of them so far.

I know, you don’t understand what the Register of Wills and the Health Department have to do with marriage licenses. This is Pennsylvania, and we’re weird. For example, my mailing address has a zip code that includes part of 3 counties, and is different from my actual township. If I had a landline, it would be in yet another town. In addition, Pennsylvania is one of the only states in the country that does not have a gay marriage or civil union law, and also doesn’t have a constitutional ban on marriage equality. Marriage licenses come from the Register of Wills, which is a county position, and the State Health Department oversees, among other things, marriage and death certificates.

The Attorney General’s office, headed by Kathleen Kane, is refusing to defend the state against the ACLU suit related to the ban on gay marriage. She won’t touch this, either. Under PA law, the Health Department is allowed to sue in Commonwealth Court because marriage licenses are a civil, not criminal, matter. That’s why it’s a suit in lieu of a criminal action.

Further, the Health Department is an arm of the Executive Branch, and Corbett wants to defend against both the ACLU suit, and anything that would allow gay people to marry. Because, again, he’s against civil rights and human rights, and basic moral decency. EVIL.

On the up side, Jerry Sandusky is in jail where he can’t hurt any more boys, and he’s never getting out. Spanier, Schultz and Curley will likely join him there in a year or two. It’s not out of the realm that Corbett will end up an indicted co-conspirator one of these days on either this charge or something else…so many choices. In the end, the PA DOMA law will be struck down, and the Montco marriage licenses will stand, and will end up issued in all the other counties, too. GOOD!

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Filed under Gay & lesbian issues, Jessica Weingarten, PA govt & politics

Memo to Reporters and Editors: A Close Look at Governor’s Tax Cut Plan

PA Budget and Policy Center, 4/10/13

Hidden deep within Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed 2013-14 budget is a plan to enact a 30% cut in Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax rate over 10 years, along with a number of other tax policy changes, that when fully phased in will cost the commonwealth—conservatively—more than $800 million annually.

The new round of tax cuts come after two years of significant budget cuts and at a time when the commonwealth is having a difficult time meeting its current obligations. It comes on top of 12 years of tax cuts whose value has reached more than $3 billion annually. This includes the final year of the capital stock and franchise tax phase out, which will drain more than $300 million in the current fiscal year.

State tax revenue for 2012-13 is not meeting expectations. The current year surplus that forms the foundation for next year’s budget is dwindling, leaving a potential budget gap. Pension costs will rise over the next few years regardless of whether changes sought by the Corbett administration are enacted, putting added pressure on the budget. Long-delayed transportation infrastructure projects and public transit programs will vie for scarce dollars.

While tax reform would be welcome, this plan falls far short of that goal. It makes modest changes to improve tax enforcement but avoids addressing corporate tax loopholes. Legislation that took steps to close the Delaware loophole passed the House last year, indicating growing support for leveling the playing field for Pennsylvania businesses.

Governor Corbett’s tax cut proposal will cost hundreds of millions of dollars—shortchanging the schools, colleges, health care and infrastructure that are absolutely necessary for our economy to grow. Pennsylvania can ill afford a new round of corporate tax cuts.

The Governor’s tax cut plan will be the subject of a Pennsylvania House Finance Committee hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 11 in Room G-50 of the Irvis Office Building, State Capitol Complex. In anticipation of that hearing, I would like to lay out some of the shortcomings of the Governor’s plan and suggest a better course to achieve true tax reform that closes loopholes and improves accountability.

The Governor’s Tax Plan

* Reduces the corporate net income tax rate from 9.99% to 6.99% by tax year 2025. The plan continues the increase in the Net Operating Loss carry-forward for a maximum of $5 million and 30% after tax year 2015. A conservative estimate pegs the total cost of the proposal at $389 million by FY 2020-21 and $819 million when fully phased in. It puts the vast majority of the cost onto a future administration, as the bulk of the rate cut occurs after 2018.
* Changes reporting requirements for pass-through entities, which includes partnerships, limited liability corporations (LLCs) and sub-chapter S corporations. With the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax, these corporate entities may not file a tax return with the state (partners and individual owners are required to file individual returns). This plan would make certain types of tax filing mandatory for these entities, and a $50 fine would be imposed for non-compliance.
* Ends a loophole in the realty transfer tax, through which large property holders are able to avoid state and local taxes.
* Eliminates unused tax credits, including the Call Center Tax Credit and the Coal Waste Removal Tax Credit.
* Provides for a $5,000 deduction for small business startups and conforms with IRS rules for like-kind exchanges for personal income taxpayers.
* Provides clarification for sourcing of sales of services and intangible assets, more important now that Pennsylvania has moved to basing its corporate income tax solely on sales.

A High Cost Plan That Creates Few Jobs

The Corbett administration projects that its tax cut plan will create 18,000 jobs in 2025. This amounts to 0.3% of total state employment and is less than that the 20,000 jobs in education that have been lost since 2010 due to state funding cuts. It is unclear if the administration’s projections take into account job losses as a result of lost tax revenue and service cuts—which could make the net job gains even less than 18,000….

continue reading at PA Budget and Policy Center

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, PA govt & politics

“Fracking and the Revolving Door in Pennsylvania” on Gov. Corbett

excerpt from “Fracking and the Revolving Door in Pennsylvania,” a report by The Public Accountability Initiative, February 2013:

Tom Corbett (2011 – present)

Pennsylvania’s current governor took office in January 2011. Since he has been in office, Corbett has signed the controversial Act 13 into law, an overhaul of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas law that restricted municipalities’ right to zone against oil and gas development and subjected local laws regarding oil and gas development to review by the Public Utility Commission. The zoning prohibition has since been overturned in court, though the Corbett administration appealed the ruling.

Corbett also overturned Gov. Rendell’s late-term moratorium on oil and gas drilling in 60 state forests. Corbett has not been in office long enough for many of his staff to leave for positions in the gas industry, though he has accepted more than $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry according to Marcellus Money, a project of Common Cause PA and Conservation Votes of Pennsylvania.43

Further, Corbett’s appointments reflect his coziness with energy interests. Corbett’s Energy Executive, a cabinet-level position he created to advise the governor on energy issues, is Patrick Henderson, a former staffer for State Senator Mary Jo White, the chair of the Environmental Resources & Energy Committee and Act 13 supporter and a former vice president at Quaker State.

Michael Krancer, Corbett’s Secretary of Environmental Protection, is a former attorney for the energy company Exelon Energy as well as Blank Rome LLP, a law and lobbying firm with a number of gas industry clients. Krancer’s policies and links to the energy industry are detailed further in the DEP section below.

C. Alan Walker is Corbett’s Secretary of Community and Economic Development and a member of the governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. Walker is the President and CEO of Bradford Energy, a coal company, and has holdings in a variety of companies related to the oil and gas industry including a 30% stake in Gigo Oil and Gas, LLP.44 Walker is extremely influential in Pennsylvania politics; he and companies he controls have contributed almost $500,000 to candidates since 2000, including nearly $184,000 to Corbett since 2004.45

download the full report and see footnotes at The Public Accountability Initiative

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Filed under Environment, Energy, Science, PA govt & politics

How Low Can He Go?

Yinzercation, 1/30/13

Just how low will our Governor go? Gov. Corbett’s approval ratings are in the tank, the lowest they’ve ever been. And he seems to be trying very hard not to talk about cuts to the state’s education budget, which he will formally propose next week. Yet he appears prepared to hold students hostage in negotiations over the looming pension crisis.

In a new poll, Gov. Corbett’s approval rating sank two more points since November, hitting an all time low of just 36%. Only 31% of the women surveyed approve of the job he is doing. And he actually polled the worst right here in his home county, where only 27% of Allegheny County residents approve of his performance. Do you think it has something to do with those massive state budget cuts to education and social services? Or his refusal to provide leadership on our crumbling infrastructure and transit needs? This administration seems to be deaf to the massive damage it has caused in our communities, so it’s not surprising that the poll found, “There is no strong base of support for Gov. Corbett among any income or age group or in any region of the state.” [Post-Gazette, 1-30-13]…

continue reading at Yinzercation

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Filed under Education and schools, PA govt & politics