Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Political Kabuki and Property Tax Reform

Photo by Evan Brandt

Gov. Tom Wolf, speaking at Phoenixville Area Middle School, stands between placards prepared by his staff espousing the benefits of his budget proposal, left, and the deficiencies of the Republican proposal, at right.

Yesterday was the second time I have covered an event featuring Pennsylvania's new governor, Tom Wolf, and I must say I continue to be impressed with his priorities.

Helping small older cities like Pottstown and his native York; funding public education at a level that gives us something less that the worst rating for the gap between rich and poor districts, and property tax reform.

He's also fairly personable and at ease with people, something his predecessor never seemed to master in the several times that I met him.

Here is some video from the beginning of his remarks:

But he is in for a tough fight on this budget.

The Republicans, who never resolved pensions, property taxes or state liquor store issues when they controlled the House, Senate and Governor's mansion for four years, now insist all those things must be dealt with in four weeks before a budget can be adopted.

I also just realized, pardon me, I'm slow, that at the same time the Republicans are slamming Wolf for a property tax proposal that hikes personal income and sales taxes this year for property tax relief next year -- their own proposal does the EXACT SAME THING.

If that isn't "political Kabuki," a phrase I heard for the first time yesterday and immediately adopted, then I don't know what is.

But there may be some light to inject into this.

After Wolf's press conference, I participated in a conference call with the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center about an analysis which suggests that there may be a path toward agreement on property tax reform, if both sides can do away with the posturing and theatrics.

You can read more about it in Sunday's Mercury .... once I write it.

In the meantime, here are the Tweets from today's event, Kabuki and all.

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