Corbett talks taxes and tourism at Longwood Gardens

Corbett speaks to a Longwood Gardens employee.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett is trumpeting his “no tax” pledge on the campaign trail.

Against a backdrop of waterfalls, palm trees and lush vegetation, Corbett told a group of supporters at Longwood Gardens he’s the only candidate who will lower state spending next year. The AG says Pennsylvania’s taxes are too high, and the levies are dragging down the state’s economy.

Corbett is referring to the alcoholic drink tax that helped fund the county’s Port Authority.

The next governor will likely face a multi-billion dollar deficit in 2011. The Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, has said he “doesn’t see how” Corbett could pass a budget without raising new revenues, and Governor Rendell has also expressed skepticism about the pledge. Onorato, who’s also promising to lower taxes, has called Corbett’s vow “a gimmick.”

The Republican’s main reason for the Longwood Gardens visit — side-note: it’s a HORRIBLE idea to hold a press conference in a greenhouse when it’s 90 degrees — was to talk up Pennsylvania tourism. “Supporting the tourism industry is something Corbett feels can boost our state economy as a whole,” read the press release his sweltering staffers handed out.

But with the vow to cut spending, how could Corbett afford to fund tourism marketing? “Budgets are made by what we have to fund first,” he explained, “and then after that, what’s left over? What’s discretionary spending?”

So what camp does marketing fall into? Discretionary or necessary?

This year’s budget spends $5.2 million on tourism promotion. That’s a steep drop from the $15 million spending level in the 2008-2009 budget, and about a million dollars less than the state spent last year.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: