According to the Center for Public Integrity, Tom Wolf and Tom Corbett have placed more than 20,000 TV ads apiece in the Pennsylvania governor’s race.
And while Corbett calls Wolf’s charge that he cut $1 billion from education spending “a lie,” and Factcheck.org says Corbett’s ads about Wolf’s tax plans are “dishonest,” I think all the sludge hurled in this less-than-uplifting contest has left impressions of the candidates that capture something real.
In Corbett, you’ll get a guy who values low taxes more than government service, who chose in his first year to continue with a widely supported business tax cut rather than try to maintain education spending at an elevated level.
In Wolf, you’ll get a guy who’s ready to tax gas drillers and wants to boost spending on education and other programs. And while he doesn’t say he’ll raise taxes (apart form the drilling tax) to get that done, it’s fair to say he’s more likely to raise taxes if valued services require it than Corbett is.
Corbett wants to move new state workers off of traditional defined benefit pension plans. Wolf wants to keep them. Corbett wants to privatize liquor sales, Wolf doesn’t.
There’s been much howling and litigation in recent years over efforts to make voting easier and make it harder — early voting, voting by mail, voter ID laws, and more. I have no doubt that voter ID laws and many efforts to restrict expanded voting are driven by partisan motives.
I also believe that it just isn’t that hard to vote the old-fashioned way at your neighborhood polling place. If you can’t get there on Election Day, absentee ballots are an effective option that have been around for decades.
If you want a say, it’s not hard to have it. The harder part is making the effort to figure out who’s any damn good. Good citizens do both, and it’s important that we do it not just for the offices at the top of the ticket, but for state legislators and other posts.
State lawmakers have more influence over our lives than most of us realize. In Pennsylvania, they’re the ones who gerrymander our congressional districts, just to pick one example.
So get out today and cast an educated vote. We all need it.