Blog: Page 20

MEMO: Scott Wagner’s Long History of Supporting Anti-Education Policies

While Governor Wolf was fighting to restore the one billion dollar cut to education made by Harrisburg Republicans that Scott Wagner supported, Scott Wagner chartered a helicopter ride for himself and a reporter to show school campuses and argue his point that schools did not need more funding.

To: Interested Parties

From: Jeff Sheridan, Campaign Manager, Tom Wolf for Governor

RE: Scott Wagner’s Long History of Supporting Anti-Education Policies

Date: July 24, 2018

 

Earlier today Governor Wolf strongly rebuked Scott Wagner’s lies about his education record.

While Governor Wolf was fighting to restore the one billion dollar cut to education made by Harrisburg Republicans that Scott Wagner supported, Scott Wagner chartered a helicopter ride for himself and a reporter to show school campuses and argue his point that schools did not need more funding.

“Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) is sick of what he calls the myth of underfunded schools in Pennsylvania. He so wanted to make his point that he chartered a helicopter and flew us over a few of the Midstate’s larger school districts.” [ABC 27, 5/27/15]

He continued on to say:

“Governor Wolf wants to dump another billion dollars into the school districts,” Wagner said. “Honestly, if I had to vote on that today I believe my vote would be no. I don’t believe the schools need a billion dollars.” [ABC 27, 5/27/15]

Scott Wagner has a long history of supporting anti-education policies. He has:

  • Supported Harrisburg Republicans’ one billion dollar cut to education which led to cuts to important programs like pre-k, larger class sizes, and teacher layoffs.
  • Advocated for laying off 10% of Pennsylvania teachers.
  • Been on record saying we do not need to invest more money into public education
  • Supported school choice policies that would strip billions from our public schools
  • Chartered a helicopter ride for himself and a reporter to show school campuses and argue his point that schools did not need more funding.

The contrast in the race could not be more clear. Tom Wolf has been fighting to invest in and protect public education while Scott Wagner wants to slash funding and lay off educators.

BACKGROUND

Wagner Supported Harrisburg Republicans $1 Billion Cut to Education.

INTERVIEWER: Well, they say the Governor runs the largest corporation in the state.  He is the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He’s come out with some pretty dramatic changes for the budget in this coming season, but we still have ⅔ of Pennsylvanians are opposed to the cuts in education.  If you were to give him advice, would you tell him to stick to his guns on these dramatic cuts that he’s making across the board. Education’s hit the worst, but everybody’s getting hit.

WAGNER: “Yes, I believe that Governor Corbett needs to stick to his plan.” [Behind the Headlines, 5/23/11]

Wagner Advocated for Laying of 10% of Teachers in Pennsylvania. “‘We have 180,000 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania,’ Wagner said. ‘If we laid off 10 percent of the teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, we’d never miss them.’” [ABC27, 6/29/15]

Wagner Would Not Devote More Money To Public Schools. “To a great extent, it appeared that two candidates — Paul Mango and Scott Wagner — would be unwilling to devote more money to public schools … Scott Wagner … said he believes the state spends ‘enough money’ on public schools, while stressing the need for frugality, fewer regulations and more accountability.” [Associated Press, 3/07/18]

Wagner Said The State Should Not Spend More On Public Education. “The candidates — State Sen. Scott Wagner of York County; Paul Mango, a retired health-care consultant, and lawyer Laura Ellsworth, both from the Pittsburgh area — agreed that the state shouldn’t spend more money on public education…” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/07/18]

Wagner Chartered A Helicopter Ride For Himself And A Local Reporter To Show School Campuses And Argue His Point That Schools Did Not Need More Funding. The York Dispatch reported, “A York senator made national news this weekend after chartering a helicopter ride for himself and a local reporter to show that state’s schools are not strapped for more funding. A segment from the Huffington Post web site includes: According to ACB27 reporter Dennis Owens, Sen. Scott Wagner pointed at various schools from 1,600 feet up to make the argument that their expansive facilities mean the state spends ‘a lot of money’ on all schools. ‘This looks like a college or university campus if you look at the sports fields,’ he said of one. ‘And they have tennis courts down there.’” [York Dispatch, 6/06/15]

HEADLINE: “State Senator Who Can Afford To Charter Helicopters On Whim Says Public Schools Overfunded.” [Huffington Post, 6/05/15]

Wagner Said The Purpose Of His Helicopter Tour Was To “Highlight The Size And Excellent Condition Of Many Of Pennsylvania’s Public Schools.” Wagner said in a statement: “Senator Wagner took Dennis Owens, a reporter for ABC 27, and his cameraman for an aerial tour of various public schools. The purpose of the tour was to highlight the size and excellent condition of many of Pennsylvania’s public schools.” [Office of Sen. Scott Wagner, statement, 5/28/15]

Wagner: “I Have Visited Every Public School In My District, And They Are All Doing Just Fine As Far As Their Facilities Are Concerned.” Wagner said in a statement: “Senator Wagner took Dennis Owens, a reporter for ABC 27, and his cameraman for an aerial tour of various public schools. The purpose of the tour was to highlight the size and excellent condition of many of Pennsylvania’s public schools. ‘I have visited every public school district in my Senate district, and they are all doing just fine as far as their facilities are concerned,’ Wagner commented. ‘Perhaps Mr. Sheridan should stop regurgitating union talking points supplied by the PSEA and start talking to real people – the ones that are choking on taxes, which Governor Wolf wants to increase so he can shovel more money into the black hole of education funding.’” [Office of Sen. Scott Wagner, statement, 5/28/15]

Wagner Said PA Public School Had “Taj-Mahal-Like Facilities” And “College-Like Campuses.” Wagner said in a statement: “This is exactly why the citizens of York County sent me to Harrisburg. For years they have watched these Taj-Mahal-like facilities be built while their property taxes continued to skyrocket. Taxpayers are tired of being fed PSEA union talking points to justify more and more spending. Clearly, we can see where the money we are giving them is going – to building these college-like campuses, which of course, are built using mandated prevailing wages. And let’s not forget the even bigger, yearly culprits – salaries, pensions, and benefits.” [Office of Sen. Scott Wagner, statement, 5/28/15]

Wagner Voted Against 2015-2016 Compromise Budget Plan With More For Education. In December 2015, Wagner voted against SB 1073. According to the Allentown Morning-Call: “The Senate in a bipartisan vote overwhelmingly approved a $30.8 billion spending bill that includes $435 million more for public education and still-unresolved tax increases, including possible changes to the sales tax.” The budget passed the Senate 43-7. [SB 1073, RCS #361, 12/07/15; Allentown Morning-Call, 12/07/15]

Wagner Voted Against $300 Million In Increased Basic Education Funding. In 2015 and 2017, Wagner was one of only seven senators to vote against the 2016-17 and 2017-18 state budgets. The two budgets increased funding for basic education by $300 million. [SB 1073, RCS# 361, 12/07/15; HB 218, RCS# 206, 6/30/17; Enacted Budget Line Item Appropriations, 2016-17, 2017-18]

Wagner Voted Against $45 Million In Increased Special Education Funding. In 2015 and 2017, Wagner was one of only seven senators to vote against the 2016-17 and 2017-18 state budgets. The two budgets increased special education funding by $45 million. [SB 1073, RCS# 361, 12/07/15; HB 218, RCS# 206, 6/30/17; Enacted Budget Line Item Appropriations, 2016-17, 2017-18]

Wagner Voted Against $60 Million In Increased Funding For Early Childhood Programs. In 2015 and 2017, Wagner was one of only seven senators to vote against the 2016-17 and 2017-18 state budgets. The two budgets increased Pre-K Counts and Head Start funding by $60 million. [SB 1073, RCS# 361, 12/07/15; HB 218, RCS# 206, 6/30/17; Enacted Budget Line Item Appropriations, 2016-17, 2017-18]

Wagner Twice Voted Against Restoring Funding For The Safe School Initiative. In April, House Bill 218 eliminated money for the Safe School Initiative. The Senate restored that funding in their version of the budget, and Wagner voted against it in committee and on the floor. [HB 218, General Fund State Appropriations, 4/03/17, Senate Appropriations Committee Vote, Roll Call #391, 6/29/17, RCS# 206, 6/30/17]

Wagner Did Not Vote On Bill To Allocate Two-Thirds Of Rideshare Revenue To Philadelphia Schools. In October 2016, Wagner did not vote on Senate Bill 984 which legalized ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate all across Pennsylvania and allocated “two-thirds of revenue from ride-sharing” to struggling schools in Philadelphia. The bill passed the Senate 47 to 1 with Wagner and one other senator not voting. Gov. Wolf signed the bill into law in November 2016. [SB 984, RCS# 723, 10/24/16; Gov. Tom Wolf Press Release, 11/04/16]

Wagner: “Very Simply Put, Betsy DeVos Is One Sharp Woman.” In November 2016, Wagner said in a campaign email to Felton Borough that he attended an RGA event in Orlando earlier that month with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. Wagner wrote: “After the panel discussion Betsy joined our table for lunch. Very simply put, Betsy DeVos is one sharp woman.” [Scott Wagner for Senate, email to Felton Borough via RTK request, 11/23/16]

Wagner: Betsy DeVos “Is Exceptionally Knowledgeable On Public School Education And She Is Full Of Cutting Edge Ideas.” In November 2016, Wagner said in a campaign email to Felton Borough that he attended an RGA event in Orlando earlier that month with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. Wagner wrote: “She is exceptionally knowledgeable on public school education and she is full of cutting edge ideas.” [Scott Wagner for Senate, email to Felton Borough via RTK request, 11/23/16]

Wagner: Selecting DeVos As Secretary Of Education “Is A Very Big Deal For America’s Public Schools.” In November 2016, Wagner said in a campaign email to Felton Borough that he attended an RGA event in Orlando earlier that month with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. Wagner wrote: “Here is the breaking news – – – – – Donald Trump selected Betsy DeVos for the position of Education Secretary Today…Selecting Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary is a very big deal for America’s public schools.” [Scott Wagner for Senate, email to Felton Borough via RTK request, 11/23/16]

Wagner Exchanged Business Cards With DeVos And “Intended To Follow Up With Betsy To Discuss Ideas For Pennsylvania’s Public Schools.” In November 2016, Wagner said in a campaign email to Felton Borough that he attended an RGA event in Orlando earlier that month with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. Wagner wrote: “We exchanged business cards and I intended to follow up with Betsy to discuss ideas for Pennsylvania’s public schools.” [Scott Wagner for Senate, email to Felton Borough via RTK request, 11/23/16]

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ICYMI: York Dispatch: EDITORIAL: With latest allegation, Scott Wagner takes page out of Donald Trump’s playbook

* That’s because Wolf’s record on education is positively sterling when compared to Wagner’s rhetoric on the issue. The York County men couldn’t be more

* That’s because Wolf’s record on education is positively sterling when compared to Wagner’s rhetoric on the issue. The York County men couldn’t be more different.

* Wagner, meanwhile, has made numerous statements over the years that make it clear he’s no great friend to education, particularly our teachers.  He once said “if we laid off 10 percent of the teachers in Pennsylvania, we’d never miss them.” He’s also said earlier this year that he believes that the state spends “enough money” on public schools.

* Wagner was unable to point to a single instance where Wolf said he thought the switch from the existing distribution system should be immediate or resulting in cuts to certain districts. That little fact escaped Wagner, which is nothing unusual. Mr. Wagner seldom lets the facts get in the way of a good story.


York Dispatch: EDITORIAL: With latest allegation, Scott Wagner takes page out of Donald Trump’s playbook

It’s obvious by this time that Scott Wagner is positioning himself as the Donald Trump of Pennsylvania politics.

That point was driven home again last Thursday when Wagner, the Republican candidate for governor, accused Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of proposing a policy that would result in deep and immediate funding cuts to certain school districts.

It was yet another charge straight out of Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip playbook — make an absurd accusation, with no basis in fact, in an effort to stir up the conservative base and confuse the general electorate.

Wagner likely figures that Trump made it work in Pennsylvania in 2016, so he’ll try it in 2018.

We can only hope that Pennsylvania voters will be a little smarter and a little more informed this time around.

Polar opposites: That’s because Wolf’s record on education is positively sterling when compared to Wagner’s rhetoric on the issue. The York County men couldn’t be more different.

In 2014, Wolf came into office with a first-term goal of $2 billion in new education money. He’s been able to secure lawmakers’ approval for about half of that total. Given that Wolf is dealing with a Republican-controlled legislature that has opposed him nearly every step of the way, that’s a rather remarkable achievement.

It was also desperately needed after Tom Corbett’s previous Republican administration slashed school funding.

Wagner, meanwhile, has made numerous statements over the years that make it clear he’s no great friend to education, particularly our teachers.

He once said “if we laid off 10 percent of the teachers in Pennsylvania, we’d never miss them.”

He’s also said earlier this year that he believes that the state spends “enough money” on public schools.

Disingenuous charge: That makes his recent charge that Wolf is looking to cut funding to certain school districts completely disingenuous.

Gov. Wolf has said that the state needs “a fair funding formula for all dollars going into public education.”

Wagner took that simple statement and somehow twisted it into a charge that Wolf wants deep and immediate funding cuts for certain school districts.

That’s simply not true. Wolf does not support an immediate shift that would result in cuts to school districts. He maintains that he supports fair funding, adequate funding and increased funding.

Wagner was unable to point to a single instance where Wolf said he thought the switch from the existing distribution system should be immediate or resulting in cuts to certain districts.

That little fact escaped Wagner, which is nothing unusual. Mr. Wagner seldom lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

New formula approved in 2015: In 2015, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved a formula that was designed to favor poorer districts and districts with growing student populations after a quarter century of school-funding formulas that did not entirely account for shifts in wealth or population, while protecting shrinking districts.

It was a long overdue move.

The new formula, thus far, has applied to increases in school aid approved since then, or about $539 million.

Nevertheless, Wagner insists — without any evidence — that Wolf wants to immediately redirect $5.5 billion for public school instruction and operations through the new formula.

An about face: Even worse, Wagner is accusing Wolf of a policy that he has supported in the past.

When the new formula was adopted in 2015, the lawmakers opted against changing how existing school aid was distributed under what is called a “hold harmless” provision. In the past, Wagner said that provision should eliminated and has criticized it for protecting shrinking districts.

Now he has done a complete about face, and ripped Wolf for a policy he himself previously supported.

It’s more than a little hypocritical.

Of course, it’s obvious that doesn’t bother Wagner. He’s just hoping his rhetoric will drown out those troublesome facts.

It worked for Trump in 2016. Now our own Pennsylvania Trump hopes it will work again in 2018.

Read the piece here.

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AUDIO: Governor Wolf Calls Out Scott Wagner’s Big Education Lie

Pennsylvania – Today, in an interview with KDKA, Governor Wolf called out Scott Wagner’s big education lie. While Governor Wolf has fully restored the billion

Pennsylvania – Today, in an interview with KDKA, Governor Wolf called out Scott Wagner’s big education lie. While Governor Wolf has fully restored the billion dollar cut to education made by Harrisburg Republicans and continues to advocate for additional funding for our public schools, Scott Wagner not only supported that billion dollar cut to education, but also called for the laying of of 10% of Pennsylvania teachers. Scott Wagner has supported school choice legislation that would strip billions from public education and explicitly said he would not devote more money to public schools.

Here’s what the Governor had to say:

“Good morning Larry and John, good to be with you. Before we get started can I just make a statement? I want to address an important issue. My opponent Scott Wagner has been lying about my record on education. I want to point this out. There’s a very clear contrast in this race and the truth is that only one person supported and continues to advocate for cuts to our schools and that’s Scott Wagner.

When I took office, I inherited drastically underfunded schools that were suffering after Harrisburg Republicans cut one billion dollars from education, the majority of which came from suburban, rural, and small-town schools. And over the last four years I have restored the full one billion dollars, I’ve expanded career and technical education, and our graduation rates are rising.

Not only did Scott Wagner support the billion dollars in cuts, but he also hasn’t stopped there. He also wants to layoff 10% of teachers, this is what he said, across the state. That would decimate educators in suburban, rural, and small-town schools. Scott Wagner would be a terrible thing for our schools.

Thank you for letting me make that statement.”

Listen to the interview here.

BACKGROUND

Wagner Supported Harrisburg Republicans $1 Billion Cut to Education.

INTERVIEWER: Well, they say the Governor runs the largest corporation in the state.  He is the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He’s come out with some pretty dramatic changes for the budget in this coming season, but we still have ⅔ of Pennsylvanians are opposed to the cuts in education.  If you were to give him advice, would you tell him to stick to his guns on these dramatic cuts that he’s making across the board. Education’s hit the worst, but everybody’s getting hit.

WAGNER: Yes, I believe that Governor Corbett needs to stick to his plan.” [Behind the Headlines, 5/23/11]

Wagner Advocated for Laying of 10% of Teachers in Pennsylvania. “‘We have 180,000 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania,’ Wagner said. ‘If we laid off 10 percent of the teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, we’d never miss them.’” [ABC27, 06/29/15]

Wagner Would Not Devote More Money To Public Schools. “To a great extent, it appeared that two candidates — Paul Mango and Scott Wagner — would be unwilling to devote more money to public schools…. Scott Wagner…said he believes the state spends ‘enough money’ on public schools, while stressing the need for frugality, fewer regulations and more accountability.” [Associated Press, 3/7/18]

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Something’s Fishy with Scott Wagner’s Finances

Pennsylvania – Today, Pennlive Morning Coffee reported that Scott Wagner is the first gubernatorial candidate in over 20 years not to release his tax returns

Pennsylvania – Today, Pennlive Morning Coffee reported that Scott Wagner is the first gubernatorial candidate in over 20 years not to release his tax returns while his company, PennWaste, is raising rates on small business owners and consumers.

“What’s he hiding?” asked Beth Melena, communications director for the Wolf campaign. “We know he’s trying to bail out his failing business by raising rates on small business owners and consumers. And the people of Pennsylvania deserve to know the real story.”

Read the full story here.

BACKGROUND

VIDEO: Wagner Says 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 “Declined To Say” Why He Will Not Release His Tax Returns. “… Scott Wagner, a state senator who is prominent in south-central Pennsylvania’s waste-hauling industry, declined to say through his campaign why he will not release a tax return.” [Associated Press, 3/11/18]

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.

  • 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]

Pennwaste 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]

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