We failed to mention this piece from Buzzfeed.com last week about a group photo of Gov. Tom Corbett mingling with a bunch of voters from his website footer was actually a Photoshop composite. The report in particular noted that the African American woman standing next to Corbett was from a stock photo of a senior couple meeting with a financial adviser. Corbett took some lumps over it of course and the story seemed to die down.
However, not letting an opportunity pass him by, openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia County posted this to his Facebook page last night. I believe the word you’re looking for is Awesome (Capital A intended).
This week's City Paper cover features our fourth illustrated cover of Gov. Tom Corbett since his 2010 election, the second by artist Rhonda Libbey. As election day nears, we thought it would be worth looking back at Corbett's history with our cover (Spoiler alert: he's shirtless a lot).
In May, Rhonda drew the governor along with the four Democrats fighting for the chance to unseat him. The governor looks a little worse for the wear here but our favorite part is the baby dragon on Katie McGinty's shoulder.
In January 2013, Corbett tried to help his image by suing the NCAA claiming the harsh penalties it gave the school in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual molestation scandal was against federal law. This marked the second time that artist Jim Rugg illustrated the governor and the second time he depicted Corbett shirtless.
And that brings us to our first-ever Corbett cover illustrating a story about the business-friendly tax breaks the governor was handing out. Inspired by Time Magazine, we decided the best way to illustrate the metaphorical suckling of big business at the government teet was to literally show it. This cover led one very well-known Democratic political figure to call and tell me, "I was handing these out in Harrisburg by the dozens!"
At a rally at the Pittsburgh Public School District building Wednesday, activists criticized Gov. Tom Corbett for cuts to education funding in the state budget and called on the public to vote Corbett out of office in November.
"We're all in this struggle together and our struggle is for fair funding for our schools," said Rev. David Thornton with the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network. "[Corbett's] cuts to our schools will be remembered at the voting booth November 4. We have to make Tom Corbett a one-term governor."
Speakers at the rally said they worried Corbett would avoid a potential $1.2 billion budget deficit forecast for the coming fiscal year by cutting education funding even further. They said Corbett cut funding for education by nearly $1 billion in 2011 and has not restored funding in subsequent budgets.
"When state funding for public education is cut, some of the most vulnerable children in our state are hurt," said Harold Grant, a representative for the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers union.
Grant listed other ways the state could balance the budget and restore funding to education. Among them were taxing Marcellus Shale drilling, closing the Delaware loophole which allows companies to avoid paying state taxes, and expanding Medicaid, which would bring in federal funding.
Under a cloud of abysmal approval ratings and news cycles repeating his analogy of gay marriage to incest, Gov. Tom Corbett announced his re-election campaign by arguing he has kept his promises and never intended to govern by the polls.
If you're looking for someone who "allows the latest poll to drive decisions, I'm not your candidate," Corbett told a crowd of supporters at the John Heinz History Center Wednesday morning.
Making the state more business friendly to spur job growth (especially in the natural gas industry), keeping taxes down and reducing state spending were all on the agenda in the first campaign: "More jobs, less taxes," Corbett echoed as his message from his first term. "Today, we're adding one more line: promises kept."
And while everyone from his wife to his lieutenant governor talked about his political consistency, he's facing an unhappy electorate.
As we've noted in previous coverage, the bill prohibits health insurers from offering coverage for abortions for anything other then rape, incest or the life of the mother, on state-run healthcare insurance exchanges.
The exchanges, which will be created as part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, are due to take effect in 2014. They will offer insurance to residents who can't get insurance through an employer.
In the post, it says, "Happy Birthday Governor Corbett. Here's some books we're thinking about getting for you."
Among the titles: Economics for Dummies, and Getting Ready for Retirement.
A bill that would preclude new state-run health-insurance exchanges from covering abortions passed the state Senate yesterday and now heads to Gov. Tom Corbett.
The House bill is identical to Senate Bill 3, introduced by State Senator Don White (R-Indiana).
The bill now heads to Gov. Corbett's office. White's chief of staff, Joe Pittman, says Corbett says he intends to sign it.
"Obamacare gave states the authority to make the ultimate decision on whether elective abortions would be covered in the exchange," Senator White said in a press release. "House Bill 818 simply ensures that Pennsylvania’s current law is applied consistently when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized health care insurance. The Abortion Control Act -- signed into law decades ago by Governor Casey -- makes it crystal clear that taxpayer dollars will not be used to pay for elective abortions."
Advocates were hoping that the Senate would at least approve an amendment that would have preserved abortion coverage for cases in which a pregnancy threatens a women's health. But that amendment was narrowly shot down, meaning that abortion coverage will only be provided in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Another amendment -- which would have allowed individuals to privately purchase a policy covering abortion on the insurance exchange provided that the policyholder covers any related administrative fees -- was also narrowly defeated.
Advocates decried the passage of the bill without the amendments, and say they are worried about how the policy affects self-employed and small businesses who will access insurance on the exchange, which will be set up in 2014.
"Imagine a woman who owns her own business, who chooses to buy her insurance on the Exchange, who pays her premiums every month and during a much anticipated and desired pregnancy develops cancer," said Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates, in a statement. "The Pennsylvania legislature has decided to tell her that she’s out of luck and has to foot the bill herself. That is beyond cruel. The voters are fed up with the divisive social agenda of this legislature, and with elections around the corner again, it's a surprisingly risky and heartless move."
A new progressive group -- with one of those names that sounds so harmless that it sort of creeps you out -- is launching a TV ad targeting Gov. Tom Corbett's budget priorities.
The ad, "Shell Game," blasts Corbett for presiding over education layoffs and cuts in public school spending, while extending tax breaks to corporations. (Or, as the ad puts it, " [A]fter thousands of teacher layoffs, Corbett continues to shortchange our schools, while paying for-- you guessed it -- another round of giveaways for his campaign donors.") The ad also notes a controversy surrounding Corbett's acceptance of gifts from UPMC and other corporate behemoths. You can view the ad here:
Republicans have already attacked the ad, saying it misstates Corbett's record. Since his first budget, Corbett has said responsibility for the cuts falls on the federal government and his Democratic predecessor, Ed Rendell. Rendell had plugged holes in the education budget with $1 billion in federal stimulus money, which ran out as Corbett took office. Corbett has increased the amount of state money that goes to education -- though not nearly enough to offset federal cuts.
And that's the point, says Lynsey Kryzwick, a spokesperson for Pennsylvanians for Accountability.