Could Dems Take Back the Pa. Senate?

Even though Gov. Tom Corbett faces a steep climb to re-election — Tom Wolf has all but been coronated in some quarters — the assumption in most quarters has been that the Legislature will remain safely in GOP hands.

No so fast.

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5 Reasons to Vote (No Really!) For Tom Corbett

Barring some disastrous circumstances, I can’t really see myself voting for Tom Corbett’s re-election in November.

Then again, you probably can’t either.  Polls consistently show the Republican governor down about 20 points or more to Tom Wolf, his Democratic challenger, and while there’s plenty of time to narrow the gap, it’s hard to imagine that Corbett has any news up his sleeve that will suddenly make him attractive to an electorate that’s found him so unattractive for so long.

Understanding Corbett’s predicament is easy: He didn’t prioritize education the way he should’ve — in Philly, he seemed more interested in breaking the teachers union than in educating kids.The state economy is anemic, even by the anemic standards of post-recession America. His fracking policy seems designed to serve energy companies instead of the people of his state. It’s not a great record.

And then there’s this:

Still, it’s easy to imagine scenarios under which the last four years could’ve been worse. My home state of Kansas, for example, has been getting an example of what happens when the GOP id is unleashed — and it’s left almost nobody happy.

So in the interest of fairness — and just to see if I could — I’ve scrounged up five reasons Tom Corbett might deserve re-election. Maybe.

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Budget Omnibus: Pa. House Passes Cigarette Tax

Lots of moving parts to the state’s budget situation these days, so let’s try to take them in some semblance of order.

• First: The Pennsylvania House on Wednesday night authorized Philly’s cigarette tax, a measure designed to help fund city schools at something like full strength.  “The state House of Representatives voted 119-80 on Wednesday night to send the bill back to the Senate, which approved a similar version earlier this week,” AP reports. “Philadelphia officials say that imposing a $2 per-pack city tax on cigarette sales will help fill a crippling schools budget deficit. Without the money, they say schools won’t be fit to open in the fall.”

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Tom Corbett, Tom Wolf Talk Environment in First Joint Appearance

Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, appeared together Wednesday night for the first time — at a Philadelphia dinner for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. As could be expected from such an event, the two men talked about balancing environmental issues with economic development. Here’s what the press is saying about the first head-to-head meeting of the gubernatorial campaign:

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