A millionaire from York County will be elected Pennsylvania’s governor. Both Democratic incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican challenger Scott Wagner hail from there, and both have led successful businesses. Wolf, consistently ahead in polls, has stayed quiet throughout the campaign. Wagner has been vocal, even espousing violent rhetoric at times, including saying he would stomp on Wolf’s face with “golf spikes,” a comment he later apologized for.
Grew up in York, Pa. Started first business at age 19. A self-proclaimed “garbage man,” Wagner developed Penn Waste into one of the largest recycling plants in the nation. Wagner was elected state senator in 2014 as a write-in candidate, the first time in Pennsylvania history. He resigned that seat in May to focus on running for governor.
Wagner has criticized Wolf over education funding. On his website, Wagner proposes ending “property tax reliance” for state education funding, which leaves some uncertainty to how schools are funded. He wants to change the state employee pension program. Wagner supports education for STEM jobs and skilled labor.
Wagner opposes a severance tax on natural-gas drilling and supports the fracking industry. Wagner has stated several stances on the cause of climate change, ranging from the earth moving closer to the sun to being caused by human body heat.
Economic issues are essentially the entirety of Wagner’s platform. His economic plan involves reducing regulations on businesses and individuals, investing in infrastructure and workforce training. Wagner says that regulations are “harmful to business.”
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Grew up in Mount Wolf in south-central Pennsylvania. Holds degrees from Dartmouth, the University of London, and MIT. Prior to becoming governor, ran a family lumber business. Wolf was elected governor in 2014, defeating Tom Corbett, marking the first time in 160 years an incumbent Pennsylvania governor lost re-election.
Supports a “fair funding formula” for education, but only if no school would lose funding as a result. The formula would favor districts with high poverty rates, but would likely cut funding to some rural districts, which are seeing declining enrollment. The shift would come with significant government costs, though Wolf has proposed boosting education funding for years.
Wolf supports a severance tax on natural-gas drillers and action to ban drilling in the Delaware River Basin. Enacted a moratorium on drilling in state parks. Also supports the ethane cracker facility in Beaver County, which would boost natural-gas production. The plant is expected to have a large environmental impact on air quality, potentially affecting Pittsburgh.
He supports a $12 minimum wage increase and touts eliminating the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax on corporations. Wolf also approved around $1 million to several manufacturing training centers across Pennsylvania. State budget impasses have occurred nearly every year under Wolf, as compromises have been elusive with the Republican-controlled legislature.
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