PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In his first broadcast TV interview, Republican Bob Guzzardi, who is challenging Gov. Tom Corbett in the May 20 Republican primary, is very blunt.
“Remember what happened in 2010,” Guzzardi told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Thursday.
“Tom Corbett made a promise. He broke that promise, and, Jon, this is amazing. In his campaign, he lies about it. He says, ‘I didn’t raise taxes. Promises made, promises kept.’ Those promises weren’t kept, and every Republican primary voter knows that.”
Guzzardi, a conservative limited government businessman from suburban Philadelphia, says Corbett broke his promise when he raised the gasoline tax and Marcellus Shale impact fee.
“Tom Corbett, the alleged Republican, taxes Marcellus Shale, targets a specific industry, and then raises taxes on the motorist and the trucking industry,” Guzzardi said.
Did Corbett break his word, as Guzzardi claims?
Four years ago, KDKA-TV asked candidate Corbett about a no-tax pledge he had just signed.
Delano: “Can you be precise as to what you mean?”
Corbett: “Well, the pledge as it’s written, and I don’t have it written here, is no tax increases during the course of the next term. That’s exactly what it says. That’s what we are going to aim for. No tax increases, whatsoever.”
Delano: “And that would include fees?”
Corbett: “Those are state, those are state.”
Delano: “Fees on use of services, and things like that?”
Corbett: “That’s right.”
Corbett: “That’s right.”
Later that fall, when asked whether a fee was a tax, Corbett said it didn’t matter because, “I intend not to raise taxes. I intend not to raise fees because we’re going to cut them so we can grow the jobs in Pennsylvania.”
Guzzardi says it’s not debatable what Corbett did, and voters know it.
“This is not an accusation. It’s a statement of fact,” says Corbett’s GOP challenger.
And he says while he will shrink state government, Corbett did the opposite.
“In the last three years, borrowing in Pennsylvania has increased by $3.4 billion. He’s expanding government. He’s making government bigger,” Guzzardi said.
Bottom line, says Guzzardi, “I am very reasonably likely to defeat Tom Corbett for the Republican nomination.”
Nobody in the political community thinks Guzzardi will defeat Corbett in the Republican primary, but he can embarrass the governor if he gets a substantial vote.
As for the Corbett campaign, they say the governor kept his promises to keep taxes low, reform Harrisburg and create jobs.
And they say they’re confident of a win in November.