The next Governor of Pennsylvania establishes a legislative agenda which sets the policy for the next four years and Schuylkill County voters next Tuesday must decide which of the two candidates seeking election for the position is the best man for the job;
Tom Corbett, 61, of Shaler Township, a Pittsburgh suburb, the current state Attorney General, is well known for his leadership to prosecute corrupt officials in the state government. He holds a B.A. in political science received from Lebenon Valley College; a law degree from Saint Mary's University Law School, San Antonio, Tex.; served in the Pennsyvania Army National Guard, was assisant district attorney of Allegheny County and assistant U.S. attorney of Western District of Pennsylvania. His wife, Susan, and two grown children live in Shaler Township.
Dan Onorato, 49, Democratic candidate, is also from the Pittsburgh area. He received his B.S. in accounting from Penn State University and his law degree from University of Pittsburgh. He is a certified public accountant, served on Pittsburgh City Council and as an elected executive of Alleghany County.
A governor has significant power. The governor is responsibile for the state budget, has a say in how much a state can spend and on what it spends. The governor has broad veto powers that can influence legislative bills. The governor appoints cabinet officers and the head of boards and grants commissions.
The candidates' stand on taxes and the economiy discussed in their campaigns were as follows:
Business Tax - CORBETT: Favors lowering the state's corporate income tax, the second highest in the country, form 9.99 percent to 6.99 percent over a six year period and wants to phase out the cap on businesses' net operating loss deductions over nine year period. He would not step in to offer state funds to large businesses on brink of closing or threatening to move out of the state but would reduce the "burdensome" taxes and regulations on business.
ONORATO: Believes the state net corporate tax is a "red flag" that discourages companies from coming in or building their business. He would reduce the tax from 9.99 to 7.99 percent over a four year period and would work to phase out the cap on net operating loss deductrions. On a bail out of big businesses would look at each individual company before making a decision.
Economic Development - CORBETT: Would evaluate economic development programs to ensure that money is going to programs that have the greatest return on investments and would focus on cutting the state budget and would seek means to develop funding to lure businesses to come into the state.
ONORATO: Favors creating a tax incentive to help small companies keep more of their intitial earnings to reinvest. Would expand programs that provide businesses with technical assistance. Would increase the state's investment in venture capital to spur green and high-tech innovations and expand the Pennsylvania Angel Network which helps start-up companies with early stage investors. He also proposes a new pool of competitive funding for universitiy research, in addition to increased support for the Ben Franklin Partners, and what he calls the Pennsylvania 100, a group of entrepreneuers-in-residence at the state's most promising research labs.
When you cast your ballot for the governor candiddate you automatically cast a vote for his running mate, who are candidates for lieutenant governor.
Corbett's running mate is Jim Cawley, 41, of Langhorne, Bucks County. His experience includes being an aide in Pennsylvania Senate from 1994 to 2005, private law practice from 2000 to 2005 and currently a Bucks County Commissioner.
Onorato's running mate is Scott Conklin, 52, Philadelphia, a self-employed building contractor, served as Center County Commissioner from 2000 to 2007 and is currently serving in the state house of representatives.