Gov. Tom Corbett sat down with Capitol reporters yesterday in three shifts, and was unusually expansive on how his tenure has gone so far and some thoughts on the final two years of his term.
Most notable was his foreshadowing of how he would answer detractors if he chooses to back a recommendation from his transportation funding commission.
One of its suggestions for raising billions in new annual infrastructure revenues is to lift the cap on wholesale gasoline and diesel, which currently is levied only on the first $1.25 per gallon.
As Karen Langley and I reported this morning, the governor said he's sticking to his no-tax hike pledge and that some will likely see a violation, before launching into a defense for doing so:
Mr. Corbett responded that other people will determine the answer: "If we do that, I think you'll hear both sides. But I will tell you this: It's an artificial cap."
"There's a tax rate on the wholesale price of gas, OK, so it should be the wholesale price of gas," he said. "Somewhere along the line the Legislature said, 'but we'll stop it at $1.25.' "
Corbett also cited the multitude of factors that influence prices at the gas pump, arguing that he wasn't convinced that consumers would see a jump in costs and suggesting his administration may be able to prohibit the increase from being passed along.
"When the oil companies are doing this, they look at the cost across the entire country, and there are multiple factors, not just one oil franchise tax here," he said. "They spread the cost over the entire country. Would there be an automatic quid-pro-quo from one to the other? I don't think so.