Archive

ShareThis Page
What’s that smell?: WAMs return to Harrisburg | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

What’s that smell?: WAMs return to Harrisburg

Gov. Tom Corbett’s spokesman insists the tax hike at the heart of Pennsylvania’s new $2.3 billion transportation plan isn’t really a tax hike; rather, the plan is “removing an artificial cap” on the wholesale gasoline tax. So, it figures that legislative leaders insist that $40 million going next year to the Commonwealth Finance Authority, an agency they control, isn’t really the return of infamous “walking-around money,” better known as WAMs.

But no euphemism can change how that money — and another incestuous $40 million that the PennDOT secretary gets to spend in consultation with legislative leaders — is as ripe for abuse as WAMs were. And no denial of “quid pro quo” politicking can alleviate suspicions that those dollars — along with promises of projects in their districts — helped flip lawmakers’ votes to win passage of the multibillion-dollar package.

That’s what Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, contends. He voted against the bill and considers the PennDOT secretary’s $40 million a WAM. And on the opposite end of the political spectrum, Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, criticized the bill for reviving WAMs.

A spokesman for House Republicans claims the $40 million for the Commonwealth Finance Authority was intended “to have some legislative input but overall accountability and set standards.” Yet history shows that legislative leaders disdain true accountability.

All this effort to fool the public betrays this funding package’s real nature: It’s Harrisburg politics as usual.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.