MEMO: Governor Wolf’s First 100 Days
April 29, 2015
“… Gov. Wolf has already shaken up the Capitol status quo…” [Inquirer, 2/13/15]
During his inauguration, Governor Wolf said he does not want to be part of the first generation of Pennsylvanians who have to tell their children they have to go elsewhere to achieve success. He said that in order to build a better Pennsylvania, his administration will be dedicated to three simple things: jobs that pay, schools that teach and government that works.
Pennsylvania can achieve these three goals, but we need to act now. During his first 100 days in office, Governor Wolf has taken concrete actions and introduced bold proposals to secure a better future for Pennsylvanians.
WATCH THIS VIDEO highlighting Governor Wolf’s first 100 days: http://youtu.be/DsNhYzNRCBE
Governor Wolf’s Budget – a Blueprint for Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s budget fixes the deficit, makes historic investments in education, rebuilds the middle class by strengthening manufacturing and workforce development, and provides property tax relief to middle-class families and seniors.
“A majority of Pennsylvania voters support Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending plan that aggressively increases education funding, a statewide Franklin & Marshall College poll found. And they agree with the first-year Democratic governor that a natural-gas extraction tax should be imposed and lower property taxes should be swapped for higher state taxes, the new poll shows. The survey found 59 percent of registered voters back the budget proposal.” [LNP, 3/26/15]
Making Gas Companies Pay Their Fair Share
Governor Wolf proposed a severance tax on natural gas so we can fund our schools for a change.
“A severance tax makes sense and is fair — which is probably why a solid 61 percent of Pennsylvanians support it…” [York Dispatch, 2/14/15]
Governor Wolf’s GO-TIME Identifies $109 Million in Savings
In only two weeks, Governor Wolf’s GO TIME initiative identified $109 million in savings.
“The results are in from Gov. Tom Wolf’s initial search for inefficiencies in state government. Mr. Wolf’s office announced Thursday that his team has identified $109 million it believes it can save in the next fiscal year.” [Post-Gazette, 2/27/15]
Governor Wolf Signs Gift Ban and Legal Contracting Reform
Immediately after his swearing in, Governor Wolf hit the ground running. He signed two executive orders; one banning gifts for all employees of the executive branch and another reforming the way the commonwealth chooses outside legal firms.
“Gov. Tom Wolf’s first actions after taking office Tuesday included signing a gift ban for all political appointees and state workers under his jurisdiction and a requirement that all private legal contracts go out to bid. The move was part of Wolf’s campaign pledge to improve transparency and work to end the practice of state officials accepting gifts from special interests.” [PennLive, 1/20/15]
Governor Wolf didn’t stop there. He also decided to proactively release his public events each night and his calendar every Friday.
“Wolf is making his schedule available daily via email to the media, the day before events — even when he has no events. Other governors, including Republican Tom Corbett and Rendell, would put out some events but usually when it suited them. The weekly calendar of where Wolf was and what he did is truly novel. Wolf puts it out on Fridays.” [Tribune-Review, 3/28/15]
Governor Wolf Travels the Commonwealth
Governor Wolf has visited schools and businesses to talk about his plans to rebuild the middle class in Pennsylvania. He’s made 20 trips to talk with teachers and students about how to fix Pennsylvania’s schools and 15 visits to small businesses and workforce development centers.
Communicating in New Ways
Governor Wolf has also introduced new ways to communicate with the public – he held the first ever governor’s Twitter and Facebook town halls where he responded directly to people asking him questions.
“Gov. Tom Wolf is earning a reputation as a social-media savvy executive. Wolf took to Facebook to answer questions sent in from around Pennsylvania….Topics ranged from Wolf’s budget proposal and plans for tax increases and accompanying tax relief, to his desire to raise the state’s minimum wage and sign legislation protecting Pennsylvanians from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” [WITF, 03/31/2015]
The governor has also made efforts to reach out to members of the legislature by dropping into their offices and inviting them to policy discussions at the residence.
“’In a bipartisan way, he’s walking the halls, talking to members – that’s been unheard of in my 15 terms,’ Rep. Tony DeLuca (D., Allegheny) said…‘’I think it’s a new way and a new day, and we should recognize that.’” [Inquirer, 2/13/15]
Protecting Our State Parks and Forests
Governor Wolf signed an executive order reinstating a moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development in state parks and forests.
“Abundant natural gas is a great resource for Pennsylvania. But so are the abundant forests for which the commonwealth is named. Gov. Tom Wolf restored perspective Thursday when he issued a new moratorium on drilling under state park and forest land.” [Times-Tribune, 1/31/15]
Governor Wolf Expands Medicaid
Governor Wolf acted swiftly to expand Medicaid and simplify a complicated process and ensure hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have greater access to the health insurance they need.
More than half a million Pennsylvanians be healthier, preventing more costly health problems and avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits, while the surge of new federal money boosts the state’s economy and creates more jobs. All in all, it’s just what the doctor ordered for Pennsylvania. [Patriot News, 2/13/15]
Governor Wolf Ensures Families will Keep CHIP Coverage
As a result of Governor Wolf’s continued efforts, Pennsylvania families get to keep their CHIP coverage.
“Families of about 3,600 Pennsylvania children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program Buy-in Plan won’t have to find new health insurance for them this year after all… On Friday, Wolf announced that after further negotiations, [CMS] agreed to let families stay in the plan for 2015 without being subject to the individual mandate fee.” [LNP, 2/14/15]
Governor Wolf Eliminates Wasteful SNAP Asset Test
Governor Wolf eliminated the SNAP asset test, a decision that will save millions in state funds and better protects Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable.
“As of Monday, Pennsylvanians who apply for food stamps will no longer be subject to an asset test to determine their eligibility for the program. And it will actually save taxpayers money… the asset test was designed to root out waste and fraud, but did little more than burden caseworkers, deprive people of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to which they were entitled, and cost the commonwealth $3.5 million per year.” [Observer-Reporter, 4/28/15]
Governor Wolf Works to Increase Oil Train Safety
Governor Wolf is focused on the safety of Pennsylvanians and protecting people from the potential disaster resulting from Bakken crude oil train derailments
“Gov. Wolf has made oil train safety a priority during the first 100 days of his administration.” [StateImpact, 4/28/15]
Governor Wolf Works to Equip PSP with Life-Saving Drug
Governor Wolf’s administration initiated a cross-agency collaboration to equip the State Police with the live-saving drug, Naloxone.
“Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to expand access to a drug-overdose antidote will save lives… Further expanding access to this life-saving antidote will save still more vulnerable people who fall prey to the ravages of dangerous drugs.” [Pocono Record, 4/9/15]
Pennsylvania can have a bright future, but we cannot simply do the same things over and over and hope for different results. Over the next 100 days and beyond, Governor Wolf will continue to work to rebuild the middle class by pushing three priorities: jobs that pay, schools that teach, and government that works.