Wagner Vows To Eliminate Unneeded State Regulations
Republican governor candidate Scott Wagner promises to chop away unneeded state regulations and find billions of dollars in savings or new revenues if Pennsylvania elect him next month.
During a recent meeting with The Times-Shamrock editorial board, Wagner said he will use his skills as the owner of trash-hauling and other businesses to find efficiencies that produce the savings. He would hire a chief operating officer to oversee spending, claiming spending remains out of control under Gov. Tom Wolf.
“If I was going to write a book, it would be ‘Government Gone Wild,’” Wagner, 63, said. “I don’t need this job and I don’t need the money. I’m the cleanup guy.”
Wagner, of York County, faces Wolf, a Democrat, also from York County, in the Nov. 6 election.
Wagner said he would do away with leasing vehicles to state legislators and find money managers who produce better investment returns for the state and public school employee pension systems.
“Why are House members still getting cars provided and why is the state paying for car leases?” he asked.
He would institute zero-based budgeting, which requires approval of each line-item of spending each year, claiming that alone would produce savings.
“It’s raining pennies and quarters and nickels all over the capital,” Wagner said.
He labeled as “a pathetic, pathetic performance” the 1.29 percent return produced by the state Public School Employees Retirement System for the year ending June 30, 2016.
“Three third-graders probably could have done a better job,” Wagner said.
For the year ending June 30, 2017, the public school system did a lot better, earning a 10.1 percent return on its investments, according to its online financial report. The state employees pension plan produced a 6.5 percent return for all of 2016 and 15.1 percent for all of 2017, according to its financial reports.
Wagner singled out the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation, saying both take too long to approve permits for businesses. He said his willingness to cut regulations doesn’t mean no regulations. He pointed to his opposition to a proposal to reduce truck inspections from twice to once a year because it would only lead to more dangerous trucks.
“Listen, bad guys need to be dealt with,” he said. “If there’s somebody out there who’s cutting corners, they shouldn’t be in business.”
He criticized Wolf for proposing $4.5 billion in new taxes after he took over as governor.
“Gov. Wolf came in and ... he basically wanted to just raise prices on customers, i.e., the taxpayers, and not do anything about becoming more efficient in state government,” Wagner said.
He favors cutting the state corporate net income tax from 9.99 percent to make Pennsylvania more competitive.
On the Keystone Sanitary Landfill expansion, Wagner said he would study Keystone’s past record of compliance with state regulations.
“The research that has been supplied to me is that Keystone has very few NOVs (notices of violation), they’ve been in compliance,” he said. “When rules are put in place, and businesses have to comply with those rules, my question would be to (DEP), ‘has Keystone complied with all the rules?’ ... If I become governor, I’m not just going to step in and issue a permit.”
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