The herd was wondering when ALLYSON SCHWARTZ was going to take to the airways. She lagged well behind businessman TOM WOLF and even STATE TREASURER ROB McCORD, who more recently found television. Her initial commercial emphasizes her role in the passage of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Health Insurance Program. She has long contended our CHIP was the model for the federal program enacted in the Clinton Administration. Referring to CHIP in her ad, she stated, â€œIt is the kind of big ideas, it is the kind of leadership Iâ€™ll bring as your next Governor.â€
By this ad, she has decided to define herself in the health-care debate. She knows in November she is going to be attacked on Obamacare, so she links herself with a far more-popular program. However, she recently modified her website from stating she â€œestablishedâ€ the program to â€œworking withâ€ others, including a popular former Governor, BOB CASEY.
I think the softening of the description of her role was not an attempt to distance herself from CHIP but rather to soften her image. She can appear abrasive. Also, she does not want to look even remotely like AL GORE, who grossly overstated his role in creating the internet. It is widely believed that Pennsylvaniaâ€™s CHIP was the brainchild of former STATE SEN. ALLEN KUKOVICH. That being said, she was influential in its design and passage.
McCordâ€™s ads have been mostly attacks on GOV. TOM CORBETTâ€™S policies. He states he prevented Corbett from privatizing the lottery system, which is in part true. But the administration eventually mothballed the plan, I believe, in order to save its powder for more-important issues. McCord in his ads calls for a 10% excise tax on Marcellus Shale gas, which would be the highest in the country. This would be on top of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s 9.9% corporate income tax, which is among the highest in the country. Yes, the jobs at wells that are operating or under construction will probably remain here, but a tax of this size will cause new drilling to move to Ohio and West Virginia.
McCord wants to use the proceeds from the tax to fund education which, he says,, has been slashed by Corbett. What McCord conveniently forget to mention in the ad is that $1.3 billion of Rendellâ€™s booming FY2010 education funding included onetime federal â€œStimulusâ€ money. The allocation of genuine state revenues to education in the last Corbett budget was the highest in the history of the Commonwealth, however.
Wolfâ€™s commercials have been airing for months and depict him as a benevolent businessman. He has said he is an advocate for the middle class. He is ahead in the polls, I believe, because he has been on television longer. We will see what happens over the next six weeks as his opponents, especially Schwartz, are on the airways.