On July 3, an editorial published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was critical of Republican accomplishments while criticizing the ongoing budget and pension negotiations (“Un-done: Their Shaky Budget Could Hurt Corbett and the GOP” ).
As noted in the editorial, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has made a point to list the legislation that the General Assembly has passed and Gov. Tom Corbett has signed. He is proud of the Republican record, and so am I.
When Gov. Corbett, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley and the Republican majorities in the General Assembly took over in January 2011, they were faced with a government and commonwealth that were in complete disarray. For years, Pennsylvania endured a state government that believed that the best way to grow our economy was to tax more and spend more.
As a result of those actions coupled with a national recession, when Gov. Corbett and the Republican General Assembly took their oaths of office in 2011 they were faced with a state unemployment of 8.2 percent, a $4.2 billion deficit and an educational system whose funding was raided by Democrats who covered their tracks with disappearing Obama stimulus dollars.
Since those cold months of 2011, Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly have done an incredible job of putting Pennsylvania back on the right track. Pennsylvania has more than 178,000 new jobs since Republicans took office. Our state’s unemployment rate is now 5.6 percent, far below the national average.
No longer are taxes the first — and sometimes only — answer to the questions facing our government. While Democrats in Washington are constantly looking to expand the scope of the federal government, the size of Pennsylvania’s government stands at a 50-year low.
Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly also passed tort reform and ended the death tax for small businesses and farmers so that Pennsylvanians can have their children and grandchildren keep and build on the traditions of their family right here.
And after Gov. Ed Rendell and the Democrats raided the state’s education budget, Gov. Corbett and the Republicans in the General Assembly found a way to increase our state’s investment in education to record levels without raising taxes. That’s right, the special interests have not been truthful with the public, because under Gov. Corbett and the Republicans in the General Assembly, Pennsylvania’s investment in education is at its highest level in history. At the same time, they put in property tax protection for homeowners so that our schools are accountable to their communities.
Republicans have a track record of success and are taking on the big issues because that is what Pennsylvanians deserve. We recently saw a bill on liquor reform pass for the first time in history. Now, Republicans are pursuing pension reform while their Democratic counterparts keep their heads in the sand.
We need leaders who will address these problems, and I look forward to working hard to send Republicans back to Harrisburg this November. Our commonwealth is better because of their leadership.
Rob Gleason is chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.