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VIDEO: Wagner Won’t Release His Tax Returns Because He Doesn’t Want His Employees to Know How Much He Makes

As reported by the Associated Press, Wagner responded that he won’t release his tax returns because he doesn’t want his employees to know how much he makes.

Pennsylvania – At a town hall in Erie on Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner was asked why he is refusing to release his tax returns. Wagner is the first gubernatorial candidate in more than 20 years not to release his tax returns. Meanwhile, his company, Penn Waste, is raising rates on small businesses and consumers and attempting to renegotiate municipal contracts to make up for the damage caused by Donald Trump’s disastrous trade war with China.

As reported by the Associated Press, Wagner responded that he won’t release his tax returns because he doesn’t want his employees to know how much he makes.

“Scott Wagner is hiding his salary from voters and employees so that he can continue to line his own pockets while raising rates on small businesses and consumers,” said Beth Melena, communications director for the Wolf campaign. “It’s time for Scott Wagner to release his tax returns and stop hiding from the people of Pennsylvania.

WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/zBT5t8QIbWo

TRANSCRIPT:

QUESTIONER: My question was why you haven’t released your tax returns?

WAGNER: Because what I make – my businesses are privately held and- I’ll tell you, you want the answer, I’m going to give you the answer, okay. We’re non-union companies. And so I worked hard for 40 years. If I make money or don’t make money that’s my business. And you know what? If I disclose those tax returns, union representatives get a hold of my tax returns, go around to my employees’ homes at night and say, ‘Hey Mrs. Jones, how much does your husband make?’ She goes, ‘Well he makes this.’ ‘Well this guy makes a lot more.’

WAGNER: But you know what? I put 40 years of risk in.So you know what, how much I make is my business and nobodies business. In addition to that I routinely, and have for over 20 years- last year my company partnered, and partnered means giving money, partnered with over 150 nonprofit organizations. Food banks all over south central Pennsylvania, Red Cross, [inaudible], that’s my business. But I’ve met every requirement and if you can tell me a requirement that I haven’t met, let me know, I’ll be happy to comply.

BACKGROUND:

Wagner Said He Doesn’t Want Workers Knowing What He Makes. “Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said he will not release a tax return because his income is nobody else’s business and he suggested that labor unions will use it to try to organize workers at the non-union waste-hauling business he owns.” [AP, 8/21/18]

VIDEO: Wagner Said He Will Not Release His Tax Returns. “[HANRAHAN:] Will you commit right now for releasing your tax returns and medical records? … [WAGNER:] No.” [WGAL Debate, 58:21, 3/01/18]

Wagner First General Election Gubernatorial Candidate Not To Release Tax Returns Since At Least The 1990s. “Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates aren’t required by law to release their tax returns, but candidates for the commonwealth’s highest office have done so for at least six campaigns dating back to the 1990s … According to the Associated Press, state Sen. Scott Wagner, who is described as prominent in the south-central Pennsylvania waste-hauling industry, has refused to say why he won’t release his tax return.” [Altoona Mirror, Editorial, 3/25/18]

Wagner “Blasted” For Refusing To Release Tax Returns. “And [Democrats] have blasted him for refusing to release his tax returns, and for saying he would not relinquish ownership in his businesses — which are regulated by state government — if he were to become governor.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/07/18]

Editorial Boards Slammed Wagner For Refusing to Release Tax Returns.

GOP Governor Candidate Scott Wagner Should Release His Tax Returns. [PennLive, Editorial, 7/26/18]

Candidates Should Release Tax Records. [Daily Item, Editorial, 7/27/18]

Candidates Should Reveal Tax Returns. [Times-Tribune, Editorial, 7/26/18]

Candidates For Pa. Governor Should Disclose Tax Returns.  [Altoona Mirror, Editorial, 3/25/18]

Candidate’s Should Open Tax Records. [Daily Item, Editorial, 3/14/18]

What Are Candidates Hiding By Refusing To Release Tax Returns? [The Intelligencer, Editorial, 4/15/18]

Gubernatorial Candidates Should Release Tax Returns. [Butler Eagle, Editorial, 3/14/18]

GOP Candidates For Governor Should Release Their Tax Returns. [LNP, Editorial, 3/14/18]

Penn Waste Is Raising Rates. “Penn Waste is bound by contracts with its municipal account holders, which usually last for terms of three to five years, Davidson said. If they don’t renegotiate rates now, municipalities will see them skyrocket to retroactively compensate Penn Waste for the revenue it lost on their accounts.” [The Burg, 5/25/18]

Penn Waste Exposed For Raising Rates Because Of Trump’s Trade War. “Penn Waste, which collects recycling from 70 municipalities in the region, implemented new recycling guidelines July 1 in response to changes in Chinese law that limited the recyclable material the country will accept… In response, Penn Waste also is approaching municipalities to see if they can renegotiate waste contracts to add a sustainability fee to help reduce contamination, according to the company’s website.” [York Dispatch, 8/01/18]

Wagner’s Hometown Newspaper Warned Consumers Of His Scheme To Raise Rates. “So, Wagner’s political guru, Donald Trump, starts an unnecessary trade war that hurts Wagner’s business. In response, Wagner wants to raise rates on small businesses and consumers all across this region.” [York Dispatch, Editorial, 8/06/18]

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ICYMI: AP: Wagner says he doesn’t want workers knowing what he makes

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said he will not release a tax return because his income is nobody else’s business and he suggested that labor unions will use it to try to organize workers at the non-union waste-hauling business he owns.

* Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said he will not release a tax return because his income is nobody else’s business and he suggested that labor unions will use it to try to organize workers at the non-union waste-hauling business he owns.

* Wagner has previously said that he would not release his tax return, despite most candidates for governor of Pennsylvania having released, when asked, part or all of their federal tax returns, going back at least two decades

* If he wins the race for governor, Wagner has said he would keep his stake in Penn Waste, which is part of a waste-hauling industry that is heavily regulated by the state.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said he will not release a tax return because his income is nobody else’s business and he suggested that labor unions will use it to try to organize workers at the non-union waste-hauling business he owns.

Wagner made the comments in response to a questioner at a Monday night question-and-answer session in Erie in video captured by the Democratic Party.

Wagner has previously said that he would not release his tax return, despite most candidates for governor of Pennsylvania having released, when asked, part or all of their federal tax returns, going back at least two decades. But Wagner’s explanation Monday night may the most expansive reason he’s given for keeping the information under wraps.

“If I make money or don’t make money that’s my business,” Wagner told the questioner. “And you know what? If I disclose those tax returns, union representatives get a hold of my tax returns, go around to my employees’ homes at night and say, ‘Hey Mrs. Jones, how much does your husband make?’ She goes, ‘Well he makes this.’ ‘Well this guy makes a lot more.’”

During his four years in the state Senate, Wagner singled out labor unions for his sharpest attacks. He said during the primary campaign that he supports “right to work” legislation, a measure that labor unions strongly oppose because it would prohibit them from collecting dues from employees who refuse to join the union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

The man Wagner hopes to beat, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, sought an extension on his 2017 tax return, but has pledged to release the first two pages of the document and open the rest of it to inspection by reporters after it is filed.

Wolf did something similar during his first campaign for governor in 2014, when he beat then-Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who also released a tax return. Labor unions are now among Wolf’s biggest campaign donors, while Wagner is his own biggest campaign donor.

Pennsylvania state law does not require a gubernatorial candidate to disclose a tax return.

Rather, candidates are required to file what are called “statements of financial interest” with the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, which Wagner has done. Those documents require candidates to list sources of income, as well as enterprises in which they have a financial stake or to which they owe money, but not how much money they receive in income.

A statement of financial interest is not nearly as revealing as a tax return, say accountants and government watchdogs.

A tax return reveals how much income a person reports to the government and pays in taxes, and how much income they receive from each source. It also reveals the effective tax rate a person pays, or whether they avoided paying taxes.

It also reveals how much someone writes off, and how much they give to charities from their pocket.

Wagner has reported more than 30 sources of income and is most prominently the president of the York-based waste hauler Penn Waste Inc., which reported $75 million in revenue last year. His statement of financial interest also hints at holdings in hotels, freight hauling, property and a diesel engine dealership, as well as dozens of debts.

If he wins the race for governor, Wagner has said he would keep his stake in Penn Waste, which is part of a waste-hauling industry that is heavily regulated by the state.

Read the piece here.

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Governor Wolf Thanks the International Association of Fire Fighters and Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters for Their Endorsement

Today, Governor Wolf received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters.

Philadelphia, PA – Today, Governor Wolf received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters. The IAFF represents more than 313,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics, and its members protect more than 85 percent of the population throughout the United States and Canada. The PPFFA represents over 10,000 career professional fire fighters, EMTs, and paramedics throughout Pennsylvania.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters,” said Governor Wolf. “We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our first responders who put their lives on the line each day to give comfort and protection to others. I would like to thank the men and women of IAFF and PPFFA for their strength of character, bravery, and selflessness. I am committed to continuing to work with IAFF and PPFFA to ensure that our fire fighters have the resources and protections they need.”

“Governor Wolf has been a champion for the fire fighters of Pennsylvania, and we are proud to endorse him for reelection today,” said Andrew K. Pantelis, District Vice President of the  International Association of Fire Fighters. “We know that another four years of Governor Wolf’s leadership means that the rights of Pennsylvania’s fire fighters will continued to be valued and protected.”

“We are proud to endorse Governor Wolf for reelection,” said Dave Chiaramonte, President of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters. “Governor Wolf has demonstrated that he will continue to work tirelessly to support Pennsylvania’s fire fighters, and we look forward to working with him for another four years.”

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ICYMI: PennLive: ‘I’d have to give it consideration,’ Scott Wagner says if bill ending same-sex marriage came to his desk

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing legislation that would end recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, saying he’d have to consider such a bill if it came to his desk.

* Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing legislation that would end recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, saying he’d have to consider such a bill if it came to his desk.


Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing legislation that would end recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, saying he’d have to consider such a bill if it came to his desk.

That pronouncement by Wagner, of York County, was caught on tape by a Democratic tracker during a town hall meeting in Erie on Monday night with running-mate Jeffrey Bartos.

“The process is a bill would come to the House or Senate to my desk and I would have to give that consideration. I don’t have the answer tonight. But I can follow up with you,” Wagner, a former state senator, told his interrogator, who identified himself as a Catholic.

The release of Wagner’s remarks, which were swiftly condemned by Democrats as an “absolute disgrace” came hours after a shadowy conservative action group released a poll that it says shows a razor-thin margin between Wagner and incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, also of York County.

Other public polls have shown Wolf with a double-digit lead over Wagner, a trash company executive.

Here’s the text of the full exchange:

Audience Member: “I am Catholic and so I have a really important question. That would be that after you are elected, will you consider putting pressure and using your influence on the house to craft a bill that would eliminate the recognition and benefits of same sex marriage?”

Wagner: “As governor, I won’t be driving that agenda. That’ll be a House or Senate bill that will drive that agenda. And I’ll have to see when it gets to my desk for that answer. I have policy people in place and you’re asking a question- I’m going to be honest with you tonight. The process is a bill would come to the House or Senate to my desk and I would have to give that consideration. I don’t have the answer tonight. But I can follow up with you.”

In some ways, Wagner’s response is a bit of Harrisburg boilerplate. When confronted with hypothetical legislation, gubernatorial candidates (and incumbents) often say that they’ll consider a bill when it reaches their desk. Wagner, however, could also have explicitly said that he’d veto such a bill if it reaches his desk – which other candidates have done.

But given the room, the politics, and the questioner, that doesn’t seem like it was ever going to be part of the calculus.

A bit of background:

In a 2015 decision called Obergfell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourth Amendment granted same-sex couples the right to marriage.

The ruling has never sat well with cultural conservatives, who have been hoping that a more conservative Supreme Court would somehow eat away at the Obergfell decision – which seems to be the pretext for the audience member’s question.

The high court’s decision in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case earlier this year, which dealt with issues of religious liberty, has been viewed as one angle of attack on the Obergfell decision.

It’s unclear what, if anything, given the federal precedent, states could do to restrict marriage rights for same-sex couples.

But Pennsylvania remains one of several states that does not offer explicit protections in law against workplace, employment and public accommodation discrimination against its LGBTQ citizens. Wagner has previously supported such protections.

Nonetheless, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has said it will begin accepting complaints based on such discriminatory actions.

The reaction:

As you might expect, Democrats were quick to condemn Wagner’s remarks, calling them “an absolute disgrace.”

“Scott Wagner saying he would consider signing a bill that would make same sex marriage illegal in Pennsylvania is an absolute disgrace,” Beth Melena, a spokeswoman for Wolf’s re-election campaign, said in an email.

“Pennsylvanians need a governor who will stand up for everyone in the commonwealth, including those in our LGBTQ community, and Scott Wagner is clearly not up for the job. Scott Wagner is a dangerous candidate who would take Pennsylvania backwards,” Melena said.

We’ve reached out to Wagner’s campaign for additional comment. We’ll add it when it arrives.

Read the piece here.

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