Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Tom Wolf: 3 things to change in Harrisburg

- By Ed Mahon emahon@ydr.com

Mount Wolf is a little more than 20 miles from the Governor’s Residence and the state Capitol.

So if Democratic gubernator­ial candidate Tom Wolf wins the Nov. 4 general election, would he commute to Harrisburg?

Wolf said the trip to Harrisburg was an easy commute when he was state revenue secretary in then-Gov. Ed Rendell’s administra­tion.

“So I want to be at home as much possible, but I’m told that I should spend time, as much time as I can in Harrisburg,” Wolf said during a recent editorial board interview with several Digital First Media

Pennsylvan­ia news organizati­ons.

If he’s elected, he would use the Governor’s Residence for official functions, he said.

Wolf, a York County businessma­n, is running against Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who was interviewe­d by DFM journalist­s a week earlier.

Here are several other takeaways from his interview:

Personal income tax

Wolf has proposed a progressiv­e income tax plan, and he has said that individual­s earning $70,000 to $90,000 a year shouldn’t have to pay more. Married couples could earn twice that and not pay more, he has said.

Wolf said he wants the overall change to be revenue neutral.

Wolf has said he wants the state to cover 50 percent of the cost, on average, of K-12 education to give property tax relief.

“I’m looking at the new revenue for the property tax as really largely on the backs of increased economic activity,” Wolf said, later adding, “I think over time, with appropriat­e economic growth, we can get to 50 percent.”

The state share of education funding for school districts, charter schools and career and technology centers was about $9.3 billion in 2012-13, or a little more than 33 percent.

In the 2008-09 and 200910 budgets, under Rendell, the state share was nearly 37 percent and 33.9 percent, respective­ly, according to state Department of Education data.

Size of the General Assembly

Wolf expressed opposition to reducing the size of the General Assembly.

“The size I don’t think really matters,” Wolf said.

He said there are other ways to improve accountabi­lity.

“For example, I’m concerned about gerrymande­ring,” Wolf said. “We have basically a one-party state in Pennsylvan­ia. Let’s deal with that.”

He said reducing the number of lawmakers would probably lead to more staffers.

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