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A Wolf, The Golden Goose and Our Future

So much to talk about, so little time. It’s hard to believe two years have passed since my Father left us. Thanks to all for sharing stories, kind words and memories of my Dad. James A. Webb Sr. was one of a kind. I am humbled to be compared to him as a writer. I never wanted to replace him on page 2, that would be impossible. I just want to make you think, make you laugh and sometimes bring a tear in the tradition he started. Thanks to all for the support and reading each week. I wrote a story in his remembrance, “The Ball,” it can be read on page 52.

Get out and vote on Tuesday! Don’t complain later about who is representing you in Harrisburg or Washington if you sat on your ballot. Let your voice be heard and fulfill your duty as an American citizen. Take your kids with you to vote. Teach them how and explain the process and the importance of showing up on Election Day.
You can find the candidates for Governor and US House of Representatives 10th District in our “Meet the Candidates” feature. They tell you in their words why they deserve your vote. Eight hundred words to be exact and no mudslinging allowed.

A few things have jumped out at me as I’ve watched, read and listened to the promises of gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. I understand many voters are disenfranchised with Governor Corbett. The cuts to education blamed on him, even though they began at the federal level. Nowhere have I seen this mentioned or talked about. This has been preyed upon by Mr. Wolf. The Republican Party always does a poor job on countering half truths.

Our state is facing a $1.5 billion budget deficit. The answer to this is simple, cut the pork and bureaucracy in Harrisburg. That isn’t going to happen. They are going to protect their own. This is true about both Governor Corbett and candidate Tom Wolf. Where will the deficit come from? Take one guess.

What scares me more than anything is folks opting for Mr. Wolf just out of disapproval of Governor Corbett. What’s behind door number two could be much worse than our current leadership.

More taxation on business and the working middle class Pennsylvanian isn’t the answer. This is what Mr. Wolf will do. Increased taxation and larger government never works; it is a precursor to bigger trouble. He clearly speaks the language of a tax and spend liberal. His idea or any idea of more taxation on the national gas industry is ludicrous. This idea he has campaigned on that the Marcellus Shale industry doesn’t pay enough taxes and plays without paying in Pennsylvania while elected officials turn their back is hogwash.

I have received no financial gain from the gas industry, nor do I have any land in wait for the next “gold rush.” The truth is the Marcellus Shale industry has been monumental in keeping Pennsylvania strong and growing our economy. Where would our great state be without it?

I compiled these facts. Numbers may vary depending on the source so where there was a discrepancy I took the average.

-Over 235,000 folks put to work by the gas industry and related business. 90% of the new jobs created in Pennsylvania since 2005 a result of gas exploration.
-In excess of $600 million in impact fees and $223 million last year alone (this money benefits the counties in communities where the work is actually occurring.)
-Over $600 million to Pennsylvania’s tax base from the leasing of and royalties collected from state owned land.

-Over $1 billion spent on new roads, paving of dirt roads and infrastructure.

-$2.1 billion paid in taxes as a result of the gas industry.

-$2.7 billion in leases in royalties paid to the landowners of Pennsylvania.

Staggering numbers and Mr. Wolf thinks we should squeeze some more out of them to balance the budget.

Pennsylvania is already getting more than its fair share when compared to other Marcellus Shale states. Piling on any additional tax or changing the way the impact tax is designed would be a mistake.

A Severance Tax would take Impact Tax money away from the areas affected by the extraction process. In other words, Mr. Wolf would take the money from rural Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg. Then redistribute the funds to Philly, Pittsburgh and the larger cities of PA.

Mr. Wolf’s liberal agenda could jeopardize growth or even possibly result in the gas folks getting the frack out of Pennsylvania for greener pastures. As in a state where less money is being drilled out of them. Our economy doesn’t need this kind of help.

Two other facts about Mr. Wolf’s campaign bother me.

He gave $10 million of his own money to his own campaign. If that isn’t the perfect example of how out-of-control the election process is and why we need campaign-finance reform. How much does the Governor’s chair sell for in our State?

The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) gave $700,000 and the American Federation of Teachers gave $610,000 to Mr. Wolf’s campaign. Guess they figured his $10 million large just wasn’t enough.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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