Election 2018: Where do Wagner and Wolf stand on the issues?
Gov. Tom Wolf and Scott Wagner have a few things in common: they are from York County; they have run their own businesses; and they share an interest in business-related issues affecting Pennsylvania.
Wagner is a Republican who resigned from the Senate last month to run for governor. And Wolf is a Democrat who is seeking a second four-year term. To get a look at where they stand on several issues, the Business Journal reviewed their stances on a number of topics and then asked each campaign to comment.
Here is a comparison.
Wagner: Wagner supports raising it to around $9.50 an hour in $0.50 increments over the course of several years. He supports a “training wage” for those 18 and younger equal to the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Wolf: Supports increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour.
Wagner: Wagner supports banning former lawmakers from lobbying and prohibiting lobbyists from doing campaign work for politicians.
Wolf: In March, Wolf introduced his “Citizens First” ethics reform plan, which includes a gift ban for public officials and steps to curb the influence of special interests in Harrisburg. It also includes ‘no budget, no pay’ legislation, which means legislators don’t get paid if they don’t approve a budget by the June 30 deadline and until a budget is approved.
Wagner: Wagner supports legislation in Pennsylvania designed to bar discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing because of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Wolf: Supports the PA Fairness Act, which would add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. With the legislation stalled, Wolf signed two executive orders that prohibit any agency under his jurisdiction or any entity that receives grants or contracts from the commonwealth from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity, among other areas.
Wagner: Does not support the full legalization of marijuana but supported the legalization of medical marijuana.
Wolf: Supports expanding the state’s medical marijuana programs but has not supported legalization for recreational use.
Wagner: Wagner supports a move to a full 401(k)-style benefit for new state government and public-school employees but voted against a plan in 2017, saying that it should have required elected officials to also sign up and it did not address unfunded liabilities of the state’s fixed-retirement plan.
Wolf: In 2017 Wolf signed a bipartisan reform bill that created a 401(k)-style savings program for workers hired in 2019 and beyond.
Wagner: Wagner supports eliminating school property taxes and raising personal income and sales taxes to cover the cost.
Wolf: Wolf’s campaign did not respond directly to this question. Instead, the campaign said Wolf wants to tax oil and gas companies, and take other steps, to help homeowners.
Wagner: Supports cutting Pennsylvania’s 9.99 percent corporate net income tax rate. He has not specified a target.
Wolf: Wolf has called for a reduction of the corporate net income tax rate for all businesses in Pennsylvania. A 2015 proposal by Wolf would have taken the rate down from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent.
Wagner: This is a tax method that allows businesses headquartered elsewhere to avoid paying taxes on Pennsylvania operations. Wagner has not advocated eliminating it, saying that companies take advantage of it because taxes otherwise are high in Pennsylvania. Wagner advocates reforming the overall tax code.
Wolf: Wolf wants to close the Delaware loophole that allows corporations headquartered elsewhere to avoid paying taxes on operations in Pennsylvania.
Wagner's other issues:
Red-tape reduction: Has proposed capping and cutting the number of regulations in Pennsylvania. The bill implements a one-in, two-out model for new regulations — for every new regulation added, two must be repealed.
Zero-based budgeting: Supports establishing zero-based budgeting, which would require state agencies to justify each dollar of spending through budget reviews. Rather than starting budget discussions at the previous year’s funding levels, this system asks agencies to reevaluate what they will actually need in the coming year.
Changing the statute of repose for construction projects: Proposes legislation to shorten the statute of repose for construction projects from 12 years to six years. Statutes of repose define the time period after completion of services during which legal action may be brought against architects, engineers and contractors. Pennsylvania’s current statute of repose for construction is 12 years. Nationwide, legislative and industry trends suggest a six-year period of repose to be more appropriate.
Wolf's other issues:
Overtime rules: The Department of Labor and Industry is finalizing a plan to change overtime rules in Pennsylvania, one that will phase in over four years and increase the salary threshold at which employers are required to pay overtime to most salaried workers. The regulation is currently moving through the regulatory review process. At this time, it is currently out for public comment. When fully implemented, Wolf’s campaign said, the plan will increase the wages of an estimated 460,000 workers in Pennsylvania.