Wolf the wonk

Published by James O'Toole on .

The Tom Wolf campaign has issued a wide-ranging compendium of proposals including a call for a progressive income tax, a ban on gifts to political appointees and voluntary public financing for state elections.

The 46-page platform  embraces many of the policy prescriptions common to the seven Democrats vying to challenge Gov. Corbett, such as a call to increase funding for education and a new tax on the Marcellus Shale drilling.  In addition to that levy, Mr. Wolf, a former state revenue secretary, said he would find new revenue by closing loopholes and reforming the state's corporate tax structure.    The plan does not offer a specific rate structure for the income tax overhaul, which would require a change in the state Constitution which currently mandates uniform rates for taxes. 

Mr. Wolf, who has given more than $10 million to his own campaign, calls for contribution limits, expanded reporting requirements and a partial form of public funding for statewide campaigns.  There are currently no limits on the size of contributions to Pennsylvania campaigns.  Mr. Wolf calls for a $5,000 cap on contributions.  He would also establish a partial public financing system funded by a voluntary checkoff by state income tax filers. Mr. Wolf said he supports a variety of steps to make it easier to vote, including early voting and online or mail voting.

To address the state's growing unfunded pension liabilities, the document says that Mr. Wolf would study options including long term borrowing through pension obligation bonds.

Beyond his call for increased overall education funding, he would promote universal full day kindergarten and expand access to pre-K programs.  Like many candidates for governor in recent years, Mr. Wolf said he would like to ease the burden on school district property taxes by increasing the state's share of education funding to 50 percent but he offers no precise roadmap on how to reach that goal. There's lots more in lengthy campaign document.  If you get bored with the Olympics tonight, you can read it here.


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