ICYMI: Five reasons from Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club Luncheon why Tom Wolf does not deserve a second term

Gov. Tom Wolf was the featured speaker at Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon.

In his own words from today’s event, here is why Tom Wolf does not deserve a second term in office:

  1. Tom Wolf wouldn’t say whether he agrees or not with PA Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills about whether socialist candidates and mainstream Democrats cannot be differentiated, calling the issue “extraneous.”

Wolf: “I don’t know who she’s talking about or what quote you’re referring to, so I can’t comment.”

Moderator: “So you’re really not paying attention to any other political campaigns?”

Wolf: “I am…you’re really brining up some extraneous things here…I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can’t pretend to understand or answer a question I don’t know.

2. Tom Wolf said he agrees with most of the positions of his running mate, John Fetterman, and didn’t distance himself from Fetterman-supported policies like single-payer healthcare and free higher education for all, which are estimated to cost Pennsylvanians over $20 billion in new taxes.

Wolf: “On most things John Fetterman and I actually agree…I don’t know what he said, John, so I’m not going to get trapped into something.”

3. Tom Wolf has so few accomplishments of his own, he is trying to take credit for Republican-led accomplishments like ending the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, investing more money in education while holding the line on taxes, balancing the state budget, reforming beer and wine sales, and moving ahead on pension reform.

Wolf: “I am also the Governor that has been able to balance the budget…I think the point is here in Pennsylvania is that you can do things wisely like invest in education, invest in healthcare, invest in making lives better and you end up still with the ability to have a balanced budget.

Wolf: “The Capital Stock and Franchise tax was an item that started with Tom Ridge, a Republican, and went through both Republicans and Democratic administrations, but I was the one that eliminated once and for all the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax. I ran in 2014 on modernizing the liquor system and I think we accomplished that.”

4. After signing many bills as Governor, holding many press events to publicly sign legislation, and even cheerfully signing this year’s budget (the first he’s actually signed), Tom Wolf seemed to indicate Monday that whether or not he actually signs or vetoes bills isn’t important.

Wolf: “In Pennsylvania, budgets become law either by the lack of veto or by signature. So, these budgets were in fact turned into law. I’m sorry, are you saying the act of actually signing a bill? If you wait ten days, and it’s not vetoed, it becomes law. Those budgets became law.”

NOTE: Nothwithstanding the ten day allowance, Article II, Sec. 15 of the Pennsylvania says the following using “shall” language:

“Every bill which shall have passed both Houses shall be presented to the Governor; if he approves he shall sign it, but if he shall not approve he shall return it with his objections to the House in which it shall have originated, which House shall enter the objections at large upon their journal, and proceed to re-consider it.”

In fact, Tom Wolf repeatedly used his refusal to sign legislation—especially as it pertains to budget—and allow them to lapse into law as a statement on his disapproval. Here is what he said in 2016 on his refusal to sign that year’s spending plan:

“I don’t want to put my name in something that’s not fair for Pennsylvania.”

5. Tom Wolf doesn’t know what his own tax policy is.

On the one hand, asked if he were to be elected to a second term what taxes he would raise first, Tom Wolf said he has no plans to increase taxes:

Wolf: “I’m sorry, I don’t have any plans to raise taxes.”

On the other hand, Tom Wolf also said he would implement a natural gas severance tax.

Wolf: “The severance tax that I’m proposing would be on top of the impact fee…”