U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic candidate for governor, last week proposed a 5-percent natural gas severance tax to make record investments in education and transportation.
“The legacy of our vast natural resources should be world-class schools, a 21st-century transportation network, clean and low-cost energy, and new advanced manufacturing jobs that can power our economy for the future,” Schwartz said. “Natural gas resources belong to the people of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians deserve a fair deal and a lasting positive legacy for the commonwealth.”
The tax would generate $13.2 billion over a decade. Schwartz would use the money to expand access to early education, make college more affordable, rebuild roads and bridges, expand public transportation options and invest in clean energy and energy efficiency.
The campaign of Gov. Tom Corbett criticized the plan.
“If this is a preview of Allyson Schwartz’s tax-and-spend agenda, Pennsylvanians better hide their wallets,” said campaign manager Mike Barley.
Barley said the proposal will force the shale gas industry to relocate to more business-and energy-friendly states.
Rob Gleason, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, also slammed the proposal.
“The contrast is clear: While Governor Corbett works to create jobs, extremists like Allyson Schwartz would put people on unemployment or just move them out of the state altogether.”
The United Steel Workers Local 10-1 has endorsed state Rep. Brendan Boyle in his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District.
Boyle has earned 20 union endorsements for the race.
“Boyle’s hard work represents the work ethic of our members,” said Jim Savage, president of Local 10-1. “If we want to be best represented in D.C., we need representatives that understand our needs. Out of the different candidates running for the 13th Congressional District, we know Brendan Boyle will do the best job supporting our working families.”
The other Democratic candidates are former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Val Arkoosh, a healthcare-reform advocate.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission last week recommended four judges running for retention in November’s election.
Earning recommendations were Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille, Supreme Court Justice Max Baer and Superior Court Judges Susan Gantman and Jack Panella.
Castille, of Rhawnhurst, is a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran and a former Philadelphia district attorney. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1993 and retained in 2003. He’s been chief justice for five years.
The commission wrote, “He is credited for his efforts in reorganizing the court system in Philadelphia, for strengthening and improving the judicial discipline system, and for encouraging lawyers to render public interest and legal services work by initiating a law school loan repayment assistance program for their benefit. He is recognized for his friendly and forthcoming demeanor, excellent judicial temperament, strong work ethic and substantial output of articulate and well-reasoned opinions.”
Castille will have to retire at the end of 2014 because he’ll be 70.
The findings were based on a questionnaire, an analysis of written opinions within the last three to five years and interviews with judges and lawyers. ••