PITTSBURGH (AP) – Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf spent the second-to-last weekend of the gubernatorial race in southwestern Pennsylvania, visiting campaign offices and just about any gathering of volunteers they could fit in as they started making their final pitches to voters.
Everywhere from Leechburg to Shelocta got a visit from one of the candidates, and they even ended up in Greensburg at the same time, just a mile or so away from each other. On Sunday, Wolf visited afternoon rallies in McKeesport, Washington and Aliquippa, while Corbett was in Beaver.
Also Sunday, more newspaper editorial boards began giving endorsements in the race.
Wolf picked up the endorsement from the Times-Tribune of Scranton, the Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre and the Bucks County Courier Times, while Corbett was endorsed by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and the Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh. The Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial that did not endorse.
In its editorial, the Times-Tribune of Scranton said Corbett failed in major ways to advance the state’s well-being and focused his first term on serving a narrow ideological constituency. Wolf would serve a broader public interest, it said. Similarly, the Citizens’ Voice said Corbett was “captive to the worst ideological impulses of his party,” while it said Wolf is proposing a pragmatic course that holds the promise of expanded opportunity and enhanced prosperity.
The Sun-Gazette said Wolf’s plans are tantamount to a big-government playbook that would favor the public sector over the private sector.
With the state government likely facing another massive deficit next year, Wolf has said he wants to restructure the income tax to boost Pennsylvania’s share of public school funding, cut local school property taxes and shift more of the tax burden to higher earners. Wolf also said he wants to raise taxes on the state’s natural gas industry and close business tax “loopholes” in an effort to restore funding cuts for public schools under Corbett.
Corbett argues that Wolf will need to raise taxes on the middle class to underwrite his education funding promises, and he opposes higher taxes on the natural gas industry. Corbett is not promising more money for public schools, but he has said that a second-term priority for him would be to slash pension benefits for future public employees in a bid to pare back costs over the coming decades. He is not renewing the pledge against raising taxes and fees that he made to voters in his 2010 campaign, but he says he would keep taxes as low as possible during a second term.
With the campaign smashing Pennsylvania’s spending record, Wolf has outspent Corbett and led in polls.
Corbett, 65, is Pennsylvania’s former two-term attorney general from Shaler, near Pittsburgh. Wolf, 65, a first-time candidate from Mount Wolf, near York, ran his family building products distribution business for much of the last three decades.
The election is Nov. 4.
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