Pennsylvania’s governor-elect, Tom Corbett, has made swift movement towards putting into motion his campaign promises.
On November 2, 2010, Republican Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General, won the gubernatorial election over the Chief Executive of Allegheny County and Democratic contender, Dan Onorato, 54 percent to 45 percent.
Since November 2, Corbett has moved quickly last week to name his transition team. During the next two months, Corbett will look to this team to compile names and vet all potential candidates for cabinet or other appointed positions. His speed signals Corbett would like to move on his reform agenda the first day in office.
In his victory speech, Corbett proclaimed New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie as his role model (see video below). Across the Delaware River, Governor Christie with less than a year in office has been turning heads as he moves through the New Jersey slashing funding for state education, canceling plans for a $10 billion commuter tunnel to Manhattan, and ruffled feathers in the state’s teachers union.
After Corbett’s hand lowers from taking the oath of office on a cold January day, both of his hands will be full with an estimated $4 billion deficit, a state slowly recovering from a recession, and the decrease in federal dollars given to states through the stimulus package. With such troubles looming, Corbett is looking to Christie as an example on how to enact sweeping reform.
Wasting no time, Corbett has made it clear, with the looming problems on his desk; he expects swift changes.
On the first day, he plans on lifting the moratorium on Marcellus Shale gas-drilling permits on state lands Gov. Rendell has imposed. In the first week, Corbett said he will have a state government reform plan. All other financial decisions will be, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, base on the money left after fully funding public safety, what he believes is the state’s primary fiscal need.
Other movements to reform and manage the states deficit includes cutting the state’s Medical Assistance program, state car fleets, discretionary accounts of Pennsylvania legislators in addition to privatizing the state’s liquor store system. In preliminary estimates, selling off state liquor stores alone would bring $2 billion in revenue.
Many of Corbett’s proposals will certainly be debated by both sides of the aisle. What Gov. Christie does not have and Gov.-elect Corbett does, is a single party state legislature. Both Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives and Senate are under Republican control suggesting an easier time for Corbett to pass his administration’s priorities.
In any light, both Christie and Corbett face tough challenges for their respective states. Pennsylvania faces a different set of problems with a governor-elect who may have Christie as a role model, but will have to develop his own leadership style to make a positive impact in Pennsylvania, a much different state than New Jersey.