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Add Gover Norquist to the long list of people who are angry at Pennsylvania Republican Governor, Tom Corbett:

You remember Grover Norquist, don’t you: He’s the guy who has made sure Republican officeholders stick to the party’s anti-tax line for more than 20 years. Now his group—Americans for Tax Reform—is attacking Gov. Tom Corbett. Really! Why? Because Corbett wants to lift the cap on the state’s gasoline tax in order to pay for fixes to the highway system.

ATR’s statement:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: this proposal is a tax increase. Corbett’s proposal would more than double the state tax on gasoline sold at the wholesale level. Corbett’s proposal also ignores the basic laws of economics. Corporations don’t pay taxes, people do. In the case of Corbett’s proposal, it will lead to higher fuel prices for Pennsylvanians at the pump.

In announcing his plan yesterday, Gov. Corbett stated that it is “time for oil and gas companies to pay their fair share.” Corbett’s statement betrays a lack of understanding about who it is that owns oil companies. Less than 2 percent of oil and natural gas industry shares are owned by corporate management. The rest are owned by tens of tens of millions of middle-class Americans through their retirement investments in 401(k)’s, IRAs, pensions and other vehicles. - The Philly Post, 2/7/13
Here's what Corbett's budget calls for:

The $28.4 billion proposal includes initiatives to privatize the state liquor system and increases funding for PA’s transportation and infrastructure through money raised in a change to the wholesale fuel tax.

The governor is also introducing sweeping public pension reform, giving public sector employees some tough decisions in the future.

Corbett’s plan also includes relatively flat funding for public education, ($90 million more or less than 2%) and higher education while increasing money for health and welfare programs.

Finally, no income or sales tax increases are planned. - Fox 43, 2/6/13

Corbett's office has tried to claim that this isn't a tax increase by local papers and Americans For Tax Reform aren't buying it:

Americans for Tax Reform says Gov. Corbett would be breaking his promise not to raise taxes if he gets legislative approval for the transportation plan. But the administration insists the "uncapped" fee wouldn't be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump.

Maybe the oil companies, out of the goodness of their hearts, will swallow the higher rate — did we mention that this theoretically could raise the per-gallon price by 20 cents?

Or maybe Gov. Corbett should just man up and ask for a higher gas tax, well south of 20 cents a gallon. That might generate more revenue for transportation in the long run, instead of all these machinations and contortions designed to disguise a tax increase from Mr. Norquist's notice.

Because a tax hike by any other name still stinks. - Lancaster Online, 1/27/13

Also, guess who's going to get hit by Corbett's budget and education cuts?
"The taxpayers of Pennsylvania have picked up the tab with higher education costs, they have picked up the tab with failing roads, they are picking up the tab on his proposal for higher gas prices.  It’s bad for the people of Pennsylvania and good if you are a foreign corporation,” said Representative Mike Sturla, (D) Lancaster County.

The Governor’s proposal calls for about 900 state jobs to be eliminated, including 400 layoffs. These layoffs will mostly be seen in the state’s general services, the Department of Health and the Department of Public Welfare. - Fox 43, 2/6/13

And while Republican Governors like John Kasich of Ohio and Jan Brewer of Arizona have accepted the provision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Health Care Act, Corbett has continued to march to the Tea Part and the Koch Brothers agenda:

The Medicaid decision features a similarly bizarre political calculus. According to a July study by the Urban Institute, 520,000 Pennsylvanians would have been newly eligible for health insurance under the expansion, which grants Medicaid to anyone under 65 living below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (meaning: annual income of $14,404 for a single person, or $30,657 for a family of four). The decision to deny most of them Medicaid (about 100,000 will be eligible for other Obamacare health insurance subsidies) is not only going to be unpopular among those getting their health insurance taken away (most of whom aren’t voting for Corbett anyways), but among supporters of Obama’s policies in general. Remember, the Affordable Care Act remains popular in Pennsylvania.

In a state that hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988, one would have expected Corbett to have fired up his etch-a-sketch by now. After all, the Tea Party momentum he rode to election in 2010 has all but dissipated, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Even Ohio Governor John Kasich and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, two of the heroes of the 2010 right-wing resurgence, are going ahead with the Medicaid expansion. (Corbett’s 2013 budget proposal, which is far less austere than his previous two, may be too little too late.) The only explanation for Corbett’s recent behavior appears to be his adherence to an ideological bent Pennsylvanians no longer share with him. “My crystal ball said Corbett couldn’t possibly be dumb enough to reject Medicaid expansion,” said one political analyst who wished to remain anonymous. “So much for my crystal ball.” - The Philly Post, 2/6/13

From gas taxes to forced ultra-sounds to voter ID laws to eduction cuts to rigging the electoral college to denying Medicaid expansion to letting Jerry Sandusky go, it's no wonder Corbett is so unpopular.  In fact, Corbett made a record on Franklin & Marshall's polling:

Another poll, another round of bad numbers for Tom Corbett. The latest survey from Franklin and Marshall shows that only 26% of registered voters think the Guv is doing a good job: the lowest for a sitting governor in the history of the F&M College Poll.

2% of respondents said he’s doing an excellent job, 24% said good, 41% said he’s doing only a fair job, and 26% said he’s doing a poor job.

His problem: weak support from the GOP base. Only 41% of Republicans gave him positive marks. As did just 26% of independents and 16% of Democrats.

The pollster surveyed 622 registered voters from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3 (before Corbett’s budget address). They used live callers on land lines; the margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent. Pa. polls of registered voters – versus likely voters – tend to be slightly more favorable to Democrats. - Politics PA, 2/7/13

And before you rehash the old argument that Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell took a dip in their approval during the middle of their first term but were easily re-elected, F&M shows that Corbett's approval is even lower than Ridge and Rendell's right now:
If Norquist is looking for a primary challenger to go up against Corbett, this guy is interested:

Bruce Castor is considering challenging Governor Tom Corbett in the 2014 Republican primary, the Montgomery County Commissioner told PoliticsPA.

“I am considering the possibility of becoming a candidate for Governor,” Castor said. “I believe that Governor Corbett is vulnerable.”

For months, murmurs of a possible primary challenge have circulated among Republican insiders. Castor is the first person to say he’s pondering a run and he’s among the top tier of potential candidates.

“It looks to me like Governor Corbett has not fulfilled the promise he came into office with,” Castor said. “That could change and everything could end up being terrific a year from now. But if it’s not I want to be in a position where I haven’t sat on my hands.” - Politics PA, 12/5/12

It's very important that we get rid of Corbett in 2014.  He's too corrupt and too extreme to be the governor of the great state of Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania Democrats have a big bench but I think Treasurer Rob McCord and Admiral, Former Congressman and Senate candidate, Joe Sestak, are our two strongest candidates.  I'll be writing about them soon.  Corbett may have a war chest ready for re-election (a little over $3 million in the bank) but that may not be enough to save him.  Especially now that Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D. PA) has hired on a special prosecutor to help her conduct the Jerry Sandusky probe:

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has appointed a former federal prosecutor to take on the review of how her predecessors handled investigating Jerry Sandusky, a promise the state’s top law enforcement officer made on the campaign trail and parlayed into a win at the polls.

Kane announced on Monday the appointment of H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., who will report directly to her and have the internal review as his only responsibility. In addition to Moulton’s eight years as a federal prosecutor, he has worked as a law professor and he compiled a report about the failed federal raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993.

“Mr. Moulton is a highly respected former federal prosecutor who will assist us in providing a comprehensive and independent examination of the facts surrounding the handling of the Sandusky investigation,” Kane said in a news release announcing the hire. - Centre Daily Times, 2/5/13
2014 can't come soon enough.

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Pittsburgh Area Kossacks.

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