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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.
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
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.”