Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Budget address we're not likely to hear
And now for the budget address Gov. Corbett won't give today to a joint session of the Legislature:
"Speaker Smith, President Pro Tempore Scarnati, Lt. Gov. Cawley, members of the General Assembly, distinguished Cabinet, fellow citizens.
"These past two years, I've sought to govern mindful of the words of our founder William Penn, who once said, "Avoid popularity; it has many snares and no real benefit."
"I believe I have been successful.
"My approval rating is in the tank, especially with women. And less than a majority of Republicans think I deserve a second term.
"Our founder would be pleased.
"With you, too; the only thing more unpopular than me is you.
"So there's much to do.
"As you know, I won this office by putting your leaders in prison and by promising jobs, transparency in government, less spending and no new taxes.
"Let's look where we are today.
"We've created jobs.
"For lawyers defending lawmakers charged with corruption.
"For lawyers continuing to litigate our nonpartisan, nothing-to-do-with-keeping-the-Philly-vote-down voter-ID law.
"For lawyers working my suit against the NCAA, which has nothing to do with me trying to get back in the graces of members of Nittany Nation, who think I fouled up that child-sex thing.
"For lawyers involved in our lottery-privatization contract with the Brits, which may or may not be legal depending on our Democrat attorney general and which may or may not be paid for depending on our Democrat state treasurer.
"(Feel free, by the way, to scrutinize their budgets.)
"For lawyers fighting the rejection of multiple right-to-know requests made by nosy journalists and citizens; and for lawyers to work upcoming lawsuits over cutting public pensions or tossing liquor-store workers out into our streets.
"We're spending less.
"By not fixing roads and bridges, but then driving is better in winter since the potholes fill with snow.
"And we are not raising taxes.
"Yes, local school districts or municipalities might be. But that's only because they're not doing more with the less we're giving them.
"And even if the folks who sell gasoline decide to ding consumers with my increase in the wholesale-gas tax, remember that is not a tax from me. It's a tax from folks who sell gasoline.
"So. Moving on.
"Two years ago I said let's build a new Pennsylvania.
"One way to do that is to get rid of silly laws governing the old Pennsylvania.
"For example: In the old Pennsylvania, you couldn't discharge a gun, cannon or any explosive weapon at a wedding. True story.
"Now, thanks to my extending the Castle Doctrine, you can discharge weapons anywhere any time you feel threatened. Like maybe at a wedding. Just sayin'.
"There's also a law in the old Pennsylvania that all liquor stores must be run by the state. But now, since I plan to allow anyone with money to run a liquor store, that silly law will be gone.
"And, ladies and gentlemen, combining more liquor stores with less restriction on discharging weapons will end all assertions that Pennsylvania's a boring place.
"Things are happening here.
"In my first budget address in 2011, I noted that Pennsylvania ranked as the 10th-worst state in terms of state and local taxes.
"I can report that, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, we are today the eighth-worst state.
"We're on the move. Let's move some more.
"Let's get to work cutting spending on pensions (not yours, of course), on selling state stores, fixing bridges and expanding gaming.
"These are stone-cold winners for Pennsylvania, my re-election chances and yours.
"So let's be willing to risk together the "many snares" that come with popularity.
"Thank you. And go Penn State!"