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While President Trump Is Lowering Utility Bills For Pennsylvanians, Wolf Wants To Raise Them

 Thursday May 17th, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that President Trump’s tax reform package is beginning to lower the energy bills of hardworking Pennsylvanians.

“The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday ordered a $320 million rate reduction for most of the state’s electric, gas and water utilities on July 1 to reflect the lower federal tax rate that went into effect this year…For Pennsylvania electric utilities, the rate cuts will range from a reduction of 0.6 percent for customers of PPL Electric Utilities to 8.6 percent for customers of Metropolitan Edison Co.” (Inquirer, 5/17/18)

This pro-pocketbook development comes on the heels of Governor Wolf’s latest push to implement a severance tax that would be financed by Pennsylvania’s working class.  And this is not a new idea for Wolf. The Governor has been attempting this for years. Most recently, he tried to convince the people of Pennsylvania that taking their money to offset for his inability to manage the commonwealth’s finances is a “reasonable” idea.

“Since day one of my term as governor, I have fought to enact a reasonable severance tax.” (Press Release, 4/30/18)

Remarkably, in their first attack against Scott Wagner, which came immediately after he accepted the nomination, the Wolf campaign hit the Republican gubernatorial nominee for standing up against Wolf’s attempt to raise gas and electric bills for Pennsylvanians:

“There’s no greater example of Wagner’s obstructionist tactics than his opposition to the severance tax.” (Press Release, 5/15/18)

“A severance tax will raise gas and electric bills for millions of Pennsylvanians, but everyone knows Tom Wolf doesn’t understand the value of a hard earned dollar. Last year, when Scott stood with the taxpayers,  Tom Wolf pushed for a direct tax on energy bills,” said Wagner for Governor spokesman Andrew Romeo. 

“The bill drew Wolf’s support…consumers, meanwhile, would face $405 million in new or higher taxes from a gross receipts tax on their natural gas, electric and telecommunications bills.” (AP, 7/27/17)“When it comes to sticking those he serves with tax increases,” Romeo added, “Tom Wolf has made it clear that the money President Trump is saving the people of Pennsylvania should belong to him. Scott Wagner is the only candidate in this race striving to make sure Harrisburg keeps its greedy paws off the President’s tax relief. If you are a Pennsylvanian who voted for President Trump on the premise that he would lower your taxes, why would you ever give Tom Wolf another term?”

Tax Relief for Working Families

Working families across Pennsylvania want the same thing: good-paying, family-sustaining jobs. Unfortunately, in recent years, Americans have seen jobs leave our country and wages stagnate, while the federal government continued to take more and more money out of their paychecks. Enough was enough. Congressman Lou Barletta stood with working families and voted for middle-class tax cuts, which have resulted in millions of Americans seeing bigger paychecks, raises, bonuses, and additional benefits. Bob Casey, on the other hand, once again sided with Washington liberals, like Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders, and voted no.

ON EDUCATION: Tom Wolf’s Hobson’s Choice

As he asks Pennsylvanians to elect him to a second term in office, Tom Wolf’s stance, and first term success, on education has been murky at best.

In a piece last week on Tom Wolf’s education record, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Wolf’s education record after his first term is “more complicated than Mission Accomplished.”

In addition, the same piece noted that basic education funding under the Wolf administration has only increased by $566 million or ten percent, despite the Governor falsely claiming—despite vetoing more education spending than he’s signed—he has restored the mythical Corbett-era education cuts. Indeed, while classroom spending has only increased ten percent, teacher benefit costs have increased 115 percent.

This is the record that Tom Wolf is taking on the campaign trail: a first term that prioritized teacher benefits instead of in-classroom spending increases.

So, what does Tom Wolf hope to change about how he has dealt with education funding should he be elected to a second term?

Tom Wolf presents Pennsylvanians with Hobson’s choice: Push all education dollars  immediately through the Basic Education Funding Formula; a result that would end up either cutting $1.2 billion from hundreds of rural and already-struggling school districts or increasing state taxes by around $4 billion in order to push the money through the formula without cutting funding to any school district.

Here a sampling of Tom Wolf’s mid-summer record of either calling for cuts or massive tax increases:

“Wolf said earlier this summer that he supported running all money for education through a funding formula that targets money to school districts based on need. The state adopted the formula in 2016, directing additional money to districts with high enrollment and large numbers of students in poverty. But it only applies to a fraction of what the state spends on education….Wolf says he wouldn’t support the change until the state had additional money and got lawmakers’ input. ‘The goal should be that no school gets a reduction in the investment that the state makes in public education,’ Wolf said.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer

“‘Yes, we need a fair funding formula for all dollars going into public education,’ [Wolf said]…’Only when there is full, fair and adequate funding would he support putting all money through the formula,’ said campaign spokeswoman Beth Melena.” – WHYY

“Wolf told The Associated Press that he does not support changing the distribution in a way that would cut funding to any school district. Rather, Wolf’s aides say he backs a shift when there’s a big enough increase in state aid to put all school aid through the state’s three-year-old funding formula without cutting aid to any single district.” – Associated Press

“[Tom Wolf] ‘will continue to fight to increase funding for all schools throughout Pennsylvania,’ Melena said.” – PennLive

Those thinking that the idea Tom Wolf would propose such large tax increases is absurd, need only look to recent history and the stances of his running mate—stances he has yet to distance himself from—to see that such tax increases would only be a repeat of recent Tom Wolf budgeting history.

In his first two budgets, Tom Wolf proposed increasing state taxes by the billions, increasing the state income tax while also increasing and expanding the state sales tax to include everything from diapers to caskets – literally cradle to grave taxation:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wolf wants Pennsylvania income, sales tax increase
The Daily Local News, Gov. Tom Wolf’s sales tax expansion would cover child care, nursing homes and more

In addition, Democratic Lt. Governor nominee John Fetterman has supported concepts like single-payer healthcare and free higher education for all. If implemented, these concepts could cause a $20 billion tax hike in Pennsylvania. As of yet, Tom Wolf has yet to distance himself from these proposals supported by his running mate.

This all presents Pennsylvanians with a stark choice when it comes to what they want for education: Scott Wagner, a Governor who will work to reform the way state government does business and put $1 billion back into the classroom without raising taxes, or Tom Wolf, whose only education plan is to raise taxes or shutter rural schools.

Bob Casey (in name only)

When it comes to standing up for moderate values and against an increasingly radical Democratic Party, Sen. Bob Casey stands in stark contrast to his father—the namesake who helped pave his son’s way into elected office.

Time and again, Bob Casey Sr.—especially as it relates to the issue of abortion—was not afraid to stand up in opposition to Democratic Party bosses, even to the point where he was turned down for an opportunity to give a speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention over his stance on the issue and the fear that his “fundamental difference” with party bosses on the issue would create a narrative of disunity in the Democratic Party.

Such a split led the senior Bob Casey to openly ask in his memoir: “What had become of the Democratic Party I once knew?’’ He also commented, in opposition to party bosses, “Voters are not as impressed as reporters by ‘scions’ and the like, least of all the voters of a working class state like Pennsylvania.”

Bob Casey Sr.’s pro-life stance was unequivocal, stating in a debate that he would sign a bill banning abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bob Casey Jr. is a much different person from his namesake – a namesake that has given him a decided advantage in his political ambitions and leaves the uninformed with the impression that he represents his father’s values.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes to being pro-life and/or standing up for moderate values, Bob Casey Jr. has seemingly gone out of his way to side with the increasingly left-leaning Democratic leadership, has refused to hold party bosses accountable for the socialist tilt of his Party, and become a leading obstructionist in the U.S. Senate.

In fairness, Bob Casey Jr. has not necessarily shied away from being contrasted with his late father, noting in a 2016 article in The Washington Post that he does not know how his father would feel about his evolving stance on social issues.

That said, the Casey brand does not seem to have given Pennsylvania’s senior Senator pause in turning to his left.

When it comes to abortion, Bob Casey Jr.’s change from being first elected as a pro-life Democrat to being a pro-choice liberal has been well-documented.

In a recent story in Politico, it was noted that Bob Casey’s record as a pro-life Democrat doesn’t add up.

“Sen. Bob Casey calls himself a pro-life Democrat,” the piece leads off. “But his voting record paints a different picture.”

Sen. Casey has protected the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, and was even given a 100 percent rating by NARAL Pro-Choice in 2016 and 2017.

When it comes to defending the Second Amendment, Bob Casey has also turned to the liberal left of his party, being called an “evangelist for gun control.”

Similarly, on immigration, Bob Casey has repeatedly sided with pro-sanctuary city policies and organizations, despite 80 percent of Americans being opposed to sanctuary cities and while Philadelphia’s refusal to comply with ICE detainers led to a rape of a young girl by an illegal alien who should have been deported.

In addition, his leftward move on health care is a slippery slope toward socialized medicine that puts bureaucracy over patient care.

Philadelphia Magazine in a profile of Sen. Casey, outlined his change in positions from being a moderate Senator to a do-nothing “Obama loyalist.”

“In fact, his dozen years in the Senate haven’t yielded a great deal — for most of his tenure, he’s been a quiet Obama loyalist, especially on Obamacare,” the profile reads.

“What’s more, the federal government has generally been a mess of inaction for some time now, and Casey might be vulnerable because of the Democrats’ role in that; over the past few years, he has moved left on gun control and gay marriage and immigration, and as he seeks reelection this fall, it won’t be hard for Republicans to paint him as another liberal whose obsession with social issues has left working-class America out in the cold.”

And so he has.

What a difference the same name can make.

Scott Wagner prioritizes in-classroom spending by putting $1 billion in new investment into Pennsylvania’s schools without raising taxes. Scott’s plan prioritizes and incentivizes teacher success and presents a clear alternative to the Wolf education choice: higher taxes or crippled rural schools.

Scott Wagner’s education plan will put $1 billion into the classroom without raising taxes
•  $700 million in basic education funding plus two $150 million block grants
•  To direct more dollars into the classroom, he will
•  Eliminate corporate welfare that has no positive economic impact
•  Privatize the sale of alcohol
•  Lease our liquor wholesale system
•  Implement workable welfare reforms
•  Create RISE block grant —> $150 million
•  Modeled after the federal Race to the Top program
•  Grants will be awarded to school districts that use evidence-backed reforms to implement
curricula that will ensure high school graduates are college and career ready.
•  Evidence-based reforms can include STEM based-programs, cooperative learning curricula, and job
readiness beyond college prep.
•  Create Teach to the Top block grant —> $150 million
•  Reward and retain our best and brightest educators. School districts may apply for grants to
create targeted bonus programs that will reward teachers who have reached certain student success
•  $25 million remedial line-item to help schools fund teacher improvements for those who do not
receive satisfactory success thresholds
•  Will create a teacher cabinet
•  Teachers from across PA to advise Scott on education policies
•  Prioritize school safety
•  Single point of entry
•  Use of scanners
•  Armed guards in all schools
•  Early childhood education
•  Work to keep funding increasing for pre-K programs
•  Establish a Social Impact Bond to put money into pre-K upfront
•  Early Literacy Program (READ)
•  Provide a pathway for all students to be successfully reading by fourth grade
•  Extra intervention for those not reaching level by third grade
•  Support Education Savings Accounts
•  Will allow students in Pennsylvania’s struggling school districts to use state money for private
school tuition, tutoring services and other pre-approved education expenses.
•  Increase private school tax credit programs
•  Expand course options by working with IUs and third-party vendors to ensure access to STEM and
AP courses, regardless of location
•  Prioritize career-ready jobs
•  Create a STEM council to advise
•   Encourage dual enrollment and dual credit opportunities to give students a college head art
•  Direct PDE to work with schools to allow students to graduate high school with an industry
•  Provide needed school reforms
•  Charter reform—> not done in 20 years
•  Enable multiple independent authorizers to bring charter schools or other innovative learning
facilities into existence.
•  In order to oversee the operation of charter schools, he will establish an Independent
Innovative School Committee.
•  This independent organization, comprised of educational experts, will be tasked with monitoring
and managing those facilities, bringing forth accountability to ensure only high-performing schools
are rewarded, and ensuring the swift closure of those schools that do not benefit our students.
•  Remove unfunded mandates
•  Minimum of 25 regs within first 60 days
•  Ensure a sensible grading system for school accountability
Tom Wolf only presents one choice when it comes to education funding: cut rural and already struggling schools or raise taxes by the billions
•  Tom Wolf presents Pennsylvanians with his version of school choice by his desire to push all education dollars immediately through the Basic Education Funding Formula
•  A result that would end up either cutting $1.2 billion from hundreds of rural and already-struggling school districts or
•  Increasing state taxes by the billions in order to push the money through the formula without cutting funding to any school district.
•  “Wolf told The Associated Press that he does not support changing the distribution in a way that would cut funding to any school district. Rather, Wolf’s aides say he backs a shift when there’s a big enough increase in state aid to put all school aid through the state’s three-year-old funding formula without cutting aid to any single district.”
•  Tom Wolf has a history of seeking taxes FIRST
•  First term proposed largest tax increase in state history
•  Continues desire for severance tax
•  Democratic Lt. Governor nominee John Fetterman has supported concepts like single- payer healthcare and free higher education for all.
•  If implemented, these concepts could cause a $20 billion tax hike in Pennsylvania.
• Tom Wolf has yet to distance himself from these proposals supported by his running

"A great guy. Somebody I know well.  He's going to be one hell of a Governor.  He's tough; he's smart: Scott Wagner."

- President Donald Trump

By Bill O'Boyle  TIMES LEADER  August 2, 2018  (Edited here for brevity)

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — It was more of a Trump for President in 2020 event than a campaign rally for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, but the former Hazleton mayor made good use of his four minutes on the podium Thursday night before 10,000-plus at Mohegan Sun Arena.

With President Donald Trump in town to jump-start Barletta’s campaign for the U.S. Senate, Trump was welcomed back to Luzerne County, the place where many feel the 2016 presidential election turned in his favor.

And the president was greeted by a packed house of supporters who traveled short and long distances to see and hear the man they backed two years ago when he defeated the pre-election favorite, Democrat Hillary Clinton, to earn the key to the White House.

Barletta, 62, of Hazleton, is running against two-term Democratic incumbent, Bob Casey, 58, of Scranton.

“It was a special night,” Barletta said after the rally. “It was an amazing crowd and it was broadcast live around the country. Having the president here in my home area will definitely help my campaign.”

Barletta and his wife, Mary Grace, greeted Trump at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and rode with the president to the arena.

“We talked a lot about the issues and the campaign,” Barletta said. “We really get along good. This was the jump-start I wanted for my campaign.”

Barletta said he will now get ready to embark on his campaign bus tour — “The Red, White and Lou Tour” — with his faithful companion, his dog Reilly.

“Reilly is ready to hit the campaign trail,” Barletta said.

When Trump was announced, the crowd went wild, shouting “USA, USA, USA.” He thanked the crowd for supporting him in 2016.

“It’s great to be back in the state that gave us America’s independence,” Trump said.


Then, Trump got to the business at hand — endorsing Barletta for U.S. Senate.

“I’ve been in Washington a year-and-a-half and I’ve never met Bob Casey,” Trump said. “Maybe I shook his hand, but I don’t remember.”

Trump said Casey’s father, former Gov. Robert Casey, was “a good man,” but this Casey is a different person.

“Bob Casey is worse than an obstructionist,” Trump said. “He will do only what his bosses — Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Maxine Walters — tell him to do. Tonight we are here to support a man who really is a star.”

Trump called Barletta to the stage and went on to tell why he should be the next senator from Pennsylvania.

Barletta spoke for four minutes, telling all why he should win in November.

“I never thought I would ever become a mayor or a congressman,” Barletta said. “And I really never dreamed that the president of the United States would come to my home area to campaign for me for the U.S. Senate.”

Barletta then ticked off all the issues that show why he and the Republican Party are the best option for voters. He said the stock market is at record highs, unemployment is down, there are more jobs than people unemployed and “The Wall” is being built.

“Bob Casey is one of the most liberal senators in Washington,” Barletta said. “He even said no to (U.S. Supreme Court nominee) Neil Gorsuch before he even knew who was being nominated by President Trump.”

‘Lou is a legend’

Barletta said he will work to keep the economy going, to protect law enforcement and first responders, to strengthen the military, to protect our borders and to fight illegal immigration.

“And we will always take a knee to pray, but never to show disrespect for our flag,” Barletta said. “Help me help President Trump to continue to drain the swamp.”

When Barletta finished, Trump returned to the podium and praised Barletta.

“I know Lou well,” Trump said. “I wanted him to run for this position. Lou is a legend in this area, but the rest of the state didn’t know him as well. They will know him now.”


Trump called Casey “Sleeping Bob,” and said the Democrat wants to do away with ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said the country has to keep bad people from entering the country.

“We intend to take some very tough actions,” Trump said. “We need border security.”

Trump told the crowd, “We need Republicans in Congress. We need Lou Barletta in the Senate. He’s tough.”

Trump said Casey won’t debate Barletta, but if that ever happens, the president will sit in the front row and watch Barletta destroy Casey.

“I want to watch that debate,” he said.

As far as 2020, Trump said he has no idea who the Democrats will nominate to run against him.

“I’m not another politician,” he said. “I didn’t need this job. I had a pretty nice life before this. But I love it.”

Trump again urged the crowd to vote Republican and to elect Barletta.

“We will keep on fighting and we will keep on winning,” he said. “We will never give up; we will never give in. And we will never back down and we will never stop fighting for this great land we love. Our hearts bleed red, white and blue.”