The Race for Governor: How Tom Wolf Would Address 3 Pressing Pennsylvania Issues

By Wolf, Tom | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Race for Governor: How Tom Wolf Would Address 3 Pressing Pennsylvania Issues


Wolf, Tom, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


For nearly two years, I have traveled the commonwealth talking with workers, business owners and struggling families about the need for a fresh start to get Pennsylvania moving again, fully fund our public schools, revitalize the state's stagnant economy and rebuild the middle class.

I believe we can build a better Pennsylvania -- where a dynamic economy will offer opportunities for everyone. But too often policymaking is about the next deal or reacting to the latest crisis. Pennsylvania's sluggish economy is reflective of how this type of politics in Harrisburg is failing us. It's time we think ahead.

We must start by providing our children with a world-class education that equips them with the skills to succeed in the 21st century.

We can begin to lay the foundation for a modern economy by restoring Gov. Corbett's drastic $1 billion cuts to our schools, which have resulted in property tax increases, massive layoffs, the elimination of valuable programs and larger class sizes.

Though Tom Corbett has tried to paint a very different picture of what his priorities have been as governor, it is a fact that the governor's first budget provided $1 billion less for our schools.

As governor, I will begin laying the foundation for a modern economy by restoring Corbett's education cuts. This begins with a reasonable 5 percent severance tax on natural gas. With natural gas production at an all-time high, a 5 percent severance tax would generate $1 billion in 2015-16 and nearly $1.5 billion by 2018-19.

The revenue generated from a severance tax will go a long way toward fully funding our education system.

A solid education is paramount to solving a looming problem -- Pennsylvania's workforce is aging and business leaders fear that the next generation is not prepared to fill these soon-to-be-vacated positions. If Pennsylvania companies are going to grow and thrive in a global economy, we must invest greater resources in education and workforce development.

My Technical Education Applied to Manufacturing (T.E.A.M.) plan will improve vocational education programs in all high schools by:

- integrating academic curriculum with technical training so that students develop a strong foundation;

- working with local manufacturers to make sure that vocational curricula are aligned with workforce needs;

- and encouraging school districts to offer a nationally recognized industry certification. …

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