Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett had to be a little concerned earlier this year when he unveiled his budget proposal that cut a number of programs, including education, to close a $4 billion budget hold. As a result, Corbett’s approval rating in April was 39 percent. But a few months later finds the governor with his highest approval rating since taking office in January at 50 percent. While getting those kinds of approval ratings was no easy task, the entire Pennsylvania government has its work cut out for it over the next few months.
What pressing topics will the governor need to handle?
Among the most popular topics that will be addressed this fall are: Marcellus Shale impact fees and various privatization ideas to help conserve public money. But the General Assembly is likely to bring other topics to conversation, including potentially changing the way Pennsylvania awards electoral votes in the presidential election.
Does the public support all Gov. Corbett’s program ideas?
While about half of the people polled believe Gov. Corbett has done a good job, large portions of residents disagree with him on a number of topics. 64 percent of those surveyed support a tax on drilling companies, while the governor opposes a tax but supports an impact per well based fee. Other areas where residents have clear concerns is opposition to privatizing state park operations and health care in prisons.
Is privatization going to happen anyway?
Corbett has created Advisory Panel on Privatization and Innovation to study the benefits and challenges involved in privatizing several industries. Ideally the members will deliver recommendations on the best way to deliver a number of state services by evaluating cost and effectiveness. However, the panel is purely an advisory council and will not be directly responsible for any legislation, much the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission and the Transportation Funding Commission.
Can Corbett hold onto or grow his approval rating?
Given the concern over the budget cuts, Gov. Corbett has rebounded pretty well in the eyes of many voters. Depending on how the pending natural gas legislation is received and how forceful he is about privatizing certain government entities, his job approval ratings could take a dip. Of course, positive results have a funny way of offsetting any unpopular decisions that will need to be made. So far the governor’s decisions have panned out pretty well for him and his administration.
Jason Gallagher is a long-time Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.