I'm going to make this short today because I'm running out to a Norristown Business Association meeting.
The midterm election is one week away and today I'm going to talk about the governor's race. I don't usually do flat out endorsements, but for the sake of Norristown, I think Tom Wolf is the best candidate, on the education issue alone.
When Governor Corbett took office in 2008, as you can see from the dark blue on the graph, spending on classroom education programs was over 9 billion. When federal stimulus money was made available in 2009 and 2010 (the yellow), Corbett cut the state's education budget and let the federal funds make up the difference. But in 2011 when the stimulus money was no longer there, he kept education program spending low. Norristown schools have suffered for it.
Wolf proposes to fund education by imposing use fees on the fracking industry, not by raising taxes. Corbett ads are using the word "taxes" a lot, but it means nothing. Just a scare tactic the GOP is using nationwide.
The other issue that effects Norristown residents directly is healthcare. PA doesn't currently accept the federal funding provided by Medicaid expansion. That means million of Pennsylvanians who earn less than $12,000, if they don't have children, don't get healthcare subsidies. They have to pay full price for medical insurance ($4000 a year or more), while those earning $13,000 and up pay a small fraction of their income. I know a lot of you out there love to spread the rumor that poor people are getting all sorts of federal subsidies, but the truth is, as far as healthcare goes in PA, most poor Norristonians can't afford it at all, and that's bad for our town's economy. Sick people can't work--they can't contribute toward society.
Pennsylvania is entitled to Medicaid expansion funds, but currently our share of the money is going to other states. Wolf supports expanding Medicaid in PA--it would be 100% paid for by the federal government, so no extra state funding would be needed.
Regardless who you vote for, get out and vote on November 4th.