Leaked Memo Touts Corbett’s First Year at Expense of Republican Peers

By: - January 5, 2012 12:00 am

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett didn’t get the voucher legislation and natural gas drilling fees in 2011 that he had hoped for, but he had a more successful first year than his predecessors in the state and other Republican governors across the country.

That’s according to an internal memo from early December that was leaked last week to The (Harrisburg) Patriot News . The document, an e-mail from Corbett’s deputy chief of staff, Luke Bernstein, touted Corbett’s ability to shepherd an on-time budget through the legislature for the first time in nine years, pass a tort reform law and not raise taxes, despite a .2 billion deficit.

The memo notes that collective bargaining laws pushed by Republican governors Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio were met with “tens of thousands of protesters” in Wisconsin and “resoundingly defeated” in a referendum in Ohio. Meanwhile, it highlighted tax increases in Pennsylvania by former Republican Governor Dick Thornburgh and former Republican Governor Tom Ridge’s inability to pass school voucher legislation in the state twice, although Corbett has himself failed to push through voucher legislation that he’s touted as a top priority.

G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, said the general consensus in the state is that Corbett had a solid but not spectacular first year. Given that performance, he’s not sure why the administration would have felt a need to puff up the governor’s record by comparing it to predecessors and peers. “I can’t remember anything in the past here that’s even comparable,” he says.

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