Surrounded by dozens of union members, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for governor Tom Wolf accepted an endorsement from the Service Employees International Union Friday in Philadelphia.
Wolf, who will face Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett at the polls in November, said that a budget deficit in Harrisburg can’t continue to stand in the way of education funding in Philadelphia.
“I know you can’t throw money at every problem, but you can’t take money away from something as central to our society as education and hope to get to a good place,” said Wolf.
Wolf also talked up an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. During the Great Recession, Wolf said he gave all the hourly workers at his home products company a raise.
“Fairness matters, and with my business background, not in spite of it, I understand that,” said Wolf. “Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour not only will not hurt the economy, it will help it because it’s going to help people’s lives.”
Wolf also touched on his plan to expand Medicaid and create 35,000 health care jobs, which he estimated would bring $2 billion into the Pennsylvania economy.
“It makes a difference that people have access to affordable health care,” said Wolf to the cheering crowd at the Municipal Services Building at the JFK Plaza.. “Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? No, but it’s a start. We ought to expand Medicaid, and I would as governor.”
Wolf was less specific on how to deal with the $1 billion tax gap that Corbett and state lawmakers are grappling with this year.
He favors a 5 percent increase in severance tax on shale gas, which he said could provide hundreds of millions of dollars to be used toward funding public schools.
Corbett opposes such a tax.