Wolf plans to help PA prosper as new governor

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Wolf plans to help PA prosper as new governor

Leah Fleischel, Editor-in-Chief

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It takes a lot to unseat an incumbent governor, and Tom Wolf is the first to perform that feat in almost 40 years.

This accomplishment takes popularity amongst voters, but according to a recent poll by Mercyhurst University, Wolf also has their trust.

69 percent of respondents say they are confident in Wolf’s ability to lead the state, and 65 percent say they trust him to solve the problems the state currently faces.

Among those problems are issues within ethics, education, taxation, business loopholes, and natural gas extraction.

The following is a breakdown of comments Wolf has made on the issues currently at large.

Ethics

Wolf said the first day he would work on ethics issues by signing an executive order that bans gifts for executive branch employees. Wolf also wants to add transparency to the process of signing legal contracts.

In his March budget address, he hopes to be able to lay out a plan to solidify Pennsylvania’s financial situation and make the economy more fair.

Marcellus Shale Tax

Wolf is pushing for a 5 percent extraction tax on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, which he expects to yield anywhere from $600 million to $1 billion dollars. Much of this tax would go toward helping to fund public education and provide some aid to organizations like the Department of Environmental Detection.

Education Funding

Along the lines of education, Wolf also wants to change the way charter schools are run and reimbursed, moving toward a marginal cost formula. By doing this, less stress would be placed on the public schools that fund them.

Property and Income Tax

An increase in the share of the current state funding from 30 percent to an eventual 50 percent to reduce property tax and place less of a burden on local tax payers.  Wolf has also mentioned changing the current flat 3.5 percent income tax to a more progressive tax that requires those that make more to pay more. A slight majority of those polled supported this initiative.

Healthcare

Wolf plans to use his power as governor to expand Medicade, allowing for lower premiums and setting up a statewide exchange. He is aiming to simplify the new Healthy PA program, signed into law by former Governor Tom Corbett, by turning it into a full expansion.

Delaware Loophole

Another issue commanding Wolf’s immediate attention is closing loopholes in business. The largest he noted was the Delaware loophole, which allows corporations to avoid Pennsylvania’s high corporate income tax.

Cabinet

Wolf has not yet formed his cabinet, but has released a few names in recent days.

One of those individuals, Dr. Rachel Levine, could make history as the highest-ranked transgender woman in Pennsylvania state government history if she is approved as physician general.

Wolf was sworn-in as the 47th governor of Pennsylvania at noon on Jan. 20, 2015.

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