Governor Tom Corbett (R. PA) has a great excuse for why unemployment is high in Pennsylvania:
This isn't that surprising since Corbett attacked the unemployed with insensitive remarks when he was running for governor back in 2010:The state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 percent, but the “number of people working in Pennsylvania tumbled by about 14,000 in March, following a drop of 6,000 in February.” Private employment has remained flat for 13 months, “growing by a mere 1,000 jobs” and landing the state “49th in the nation for job creation during March.”
During an appearance on a local radio show this week, Corbett sought to explain away Pennsylvania’s less than stellar performance, arguing that the state gained 111,000 private sector jobs since he took office and is “doing better than other states.” But then he grew defensive and complained that “a lot” of businesses are still having trouble filling their ranks because too many Pennsylvanians use illegal drugs:
CORBETT: The other area is, there are many employers that say we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them. And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that. - Think Progress, 4/30/13
With remarks like that, and a long list of other reasons, probably explain why Corbett's approvals are in the tank:Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett on Friday accused some jobless Pennsylvanians of choosing to collect unemployment checks rather than going back to work, prompting swift criticism from his Democratic opponent and one of the state's top labor leaders.
"The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are just going to sit there," Corbett told Harrisburg radio station WITF at a campaign stop in Elizabethtown. "I've literally had construction companies tell me, 'I can't get people to come back to work until . . . they say, "I'll come back to work when unemployment runs out." ' "
Democratic candidate Dan Onorato charged Corbett with being out of touch at a time when Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent, a 26-year high.
"I don't know what world Tom Corbett is living in," Onorato said in a statement. "Our economy is struggling, families in Pennsylvania are hurting, and Harrisburg insiders like Tom Corbett aren't doing anything to help them."
AFL-CIO president Richard Bloomingdale told the Associated Press that he was astonished by Corbett's remarks.
"Unemployed workers would rather be working, feeding their families, and paying the mortgage than living with the uncertainty of not having a job, earning less than half their wages, and going without health care and pensions," Bloomingdale said.
He said more than 25,000 people are jobless in Lancaster County, in which Elizabethtown is located. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/10/10
But Corbett isn't concerned about the unemployed. He's more concered about a political win:
Corbett is hoping to make liquor privatization his saving grace fro re-election:More than a month after a bill to privatize liquor sales passed the House, the state Senate begins consideration of the measure with a hearing this morning.
The man on the hot seat today is Bucks County Republican Senator Chuck McIlhinney, chairman of the Senate committee that will vet the House Liquor bill. McIlhinney has already been targeted with TV ads by a conservative group that wants him to take a hard line on privatization.
But, McIlhinney is vowing to hear out all proposals and says he will not be pressured into rubber stamping the House bill.
Winning a majority in the 50 member Senate will likely be tougher than it was in the House, in part because Democrats who favor the state store system hold only a few fewer seats than Republicans in the Senate. - CBS Philly, 4/30/13
Corbett's desperate for a political victory because he just can't catch a break:It’s his most popular issue with a majority of the state. Polls have consistently shown a large majority of Pennsylvanians want the government out of the state liquor business, which it has controlled since Prohibition ended. The most recent poll on the matter, conducted for the anti-union Commonwealth Foundation, found about 60 percent of Pennsylvanians support getting out of the business—and those numbers have been pretty steady for the last few years.
“In Pennsylvania, our hands are tied,” Corbett noted. “Whether it’s a party or an event or just a dinner with your family and friends, neighbors: If you want to have beer, wine, liquor, you’ve got to make three separate stops.” He then told the audience that Pennsylvania’s system should be more like that of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is where he was visiting on a trade mission to bring 74 jobs to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
“Selling liquor,” he continued, “is not a core function of government.”
The plan Corbett laid out in his budget earlier this year would send one-time cash made from selling the state liquor stores to the state’s education system. He estimated it’d total $1 billion. The House passed a privatization bill earlier this month and the Senate is set to take it up before the final budget is voted upon.
But a Quinnipiac poll released today shows only 38 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of the job the governor is doing as the executive of the state government, with 47 percent disapproving. If the election were held today, Corbett would lose to every potential candidate, with the worst defeats being against either former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak or U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling institute called the poll a “triple dose of bad news” for the governor. “Three Democratic challengers would beat him handily if the election for governor were held today,” he said, of Sestak, Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord.
There’s no evidence to say this is the winning issue the governor needs, but, well, stranger things have happened. - Philadelphia Weekly, 4/29/13
Pennsylvania Democrats have an amazing opportunity to unseat this clown next year. Lets just hope the primary doesn't get too crowded, expensive and nasty because Democrats will need a strong candidate to unite over and make this race a referendum on Corbett's awful record as Governor.A judge has postponed a hearing on the NCAA's request to dismiss Gov. Tom Corbett's antitrust lawsuit over sanctions college sports' governing body imposed on Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
Oral arguments had been scheduled for Wednesday. But the Centre Daily Times reports U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane has postponed them until May 20, citing plans to attend the funeral for Chief U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster.
Corbett sued the NCAA in January, arguing the sanctions violated federal antitrust laws. His lawsuit accuses the NCAA of exploiting the Sandusky case to increase the power of the organization's president and help some universities gain a competitive advantage. - The Express Times, 4/30/13
By the way, Corbett may want to think twice about making abortion a big issue in his re-election campaign:
By the way, gubernatorial candidate Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D. PA-13) made a big endorsement yesterday:Corbett, whose poll numbers are shaky for an incumbent, has a major problem with women voters by most measures. Monday's Quinnipiac University poll found women opposed to his reelection by a 2-1 margin - 54 percent to 27 percent. (He's considerably stronger among men, but still in negative territory.)
Democratic opponents are bound to try to widen the gender gap in the coming campaign - a tactic that worked wonders in the 2012 presidential race - perhaps by reminding voters of Corbett's "close your eyes" comment. He was referring to a bill requiring women to get an ultrasound in the 24 hours before an abortion.
Now, in context, Corbett was saying he didn't think anyone could be forced to look at a fetal image, and that in any case he opposed the type of ultrasound that involves an internal probe. Plus, the bill didn't pass.
But don't look for those distinctions to be honored in the heat of a campaign.Another possible inflection point for the abortion issue: U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, was executive director three decades ago of a women's health center that provided abortions and other services.
To be sure, it was a reputable clinic, and all the major Democratic candidates have the same position on abortion as Schwartz, i.e. supporting a woman's right to choose.
Yet, most analysts looking to 2014 figure somebody will make an issue of that early entry on Schwartz's resumé. "It would be the biggest grassroots motivator in a generation," said GOP consultant Jeff Coleman, who is wired into the social-issues conservative movement.
In other words, economy or no economy, look for both sides to use abortion to rally the base.
"Could social issues become a real vote-decider next year?" said veteran pollster G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College. "It's a possibility." - Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/30/13
With three weeks until Primary Day, federal and county officials are throwing their support behind Democrat Jeanne Sorg, candidate for Mayor in Ambler.
Sorg picked up a key backer this week by receiving U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz’s endorsement.
“Jeanne has shown her dedication and commitment to our community time and again," Scwartz said. "Her knowledge and experience in Ambler matter. I am proud to support Jeanne Sorg, our candidate for Mayor of Ambler!"
After receiving Schwartz’s endorsement, Sorg said she was “truly thankful and humbled by the support [she is] receiving from the very public servants Ambler will need to partner with to move borough forward.”
Sorg previously received endorsements from Montgomery County Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro and Vice-Chair Leslie Richards. - Ambler Patch, 4/29/13