Smart Talk, Thursday night at 8 on witf TV.  We'll look back at the Corbett administration's 2011 hits and misses, and make some predictions for the team in 2012.  You can email us at smarttalk@witf.org or call in live Thursday night at 8 to 1-800-729-7532."> Smart Talk, Thursday night at 8 on witf TV.  We'll look back at the Corbett administration's 2011 hits and misses, and make some predictions for the team in 2012.  You can email us at smarttalk@witf.org or call in live Thursday night at 8 to 1-800-729-7532."> Smart Talk, Thursday night at 8 on witf TV.  We'll look back at the Corbett administration's 2011 hits and misses, and make some predictions for the team in 2012.  You can email us at smarttalk@witf.org or call in live Thursday night at 8 to 1-800-729-7532."> Grade the Governor - Smart Talk, Thursday 8 pm, witf TV | Smart Talk | witf.org
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Grade the Governor - Smart Talk, Thursday 8 pm, witf TV

Written by Nell McCormack Abom, Host Smart Talk TV | Jan 10, 2012 4:41 PM

It's a new year and time for a new assessment of Governor Tom Corbett's first year in office.  Share your thoughts and "Grade the Governor" on Smart Talk, Thursday night at 8 on witf TV.  We'll look back at the Corbett administration's 2011 hits and misses, and make some predictions for the team in 2012.  You can email us at smarttalk@witf.org ,or call in live Thursday night to 1-800-729-7532.  You also can post a comment to Facebook or add your thoughts to the bottom of this article.

Our panel includes Dr. G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll and director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs, John Micek, statehouse reporter for the Allentown Morning Call, Laura Olson, statehouse reporter for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Matt Belanger, government reporter for WGAL News 8.  You can read Dr. Madonna's take on Corbett's rookie year here. 

On the achievement side, Gov. Corbett tamed a $4.2 billion deficit by cutting spending and not raising taxes while enacting Pennsylvania's first on-time budget in nine years.  He and his emergency-response team acquitted themselves well during the flooding crisis.  Corbett approved new safety standards for abortion clinics and a Fair Share Act that awards proportional damages in civil suits, something his predecessor, Democrat Ed Rendell, had vetoed. 

But Corbett misfired when he backed a plan to change Pennsylvania's system of allotting electoral votes.  He failed to pass a liquor-privatization plan and missed a chance to enact a school-choice voucher system.  (Of that doomed effort, The Wall Street Journal opined that his leadership was "diffident.")   It was a similar story when it came to assessing an impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas drillers.  Despite expressing his willingness to sign an impact fee, Corbett didn't do much to get one passed.  On transportation funding, Gov. Corbett convened a special commission that made a truckload of recommendations to close the multi-billion dollar annual gap.  He then decided not to do anything, citing the weak economy and a fear that any increase in vehicle fees would hurt average families and small businesses.  The Patriot-News scored a coup when someone leaked them a confidential memo from Corbett's Deputy Secretary Luke Bernstein singing his praises while panning the work of previous and current Republican governors.   

Even more fascinating is the style difference between Ed Rendell and Tom Corbett.  Rendell never saw a microphone he didn't like.  Tom Corbett?  Well, some called him Governor Garbo for his reticence to make a splash.  And let's not forget the first six months of troubles with his gubernatorial appointees.  A few of them had run-ins with the public that found their way into the press.  See Secretary of Health Eli Avila, Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander and his aides, and Budget Secretary Charles Zogby's wife.  We'll have to watch Corbett's handling of the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.  The investigation began under Corbett when he was attorney general and there have been questions raised about whether he put his gubernatorial aspirations ahead of prosecuting Sandusky earlier in 2010.  And Corbett faces more tough budgeting as the state stares down at least a $500 million deficit that already required mid-year freezes and the prospect of deeper cuts.

We'd love to hear what you think of the job Tom Corbett is doing as Pennsylvania's 46th governor and what you'd like to see him accomplish this year.  Call in live Thursday night at 8 to 1-800-729-7532, send an email to smarttalk@witf.org, post a comment to the bottom of this article or to our Facebook page.

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