Hanger said he has has a 28-year record of accomplishments improving PA’s economy and environment, including serving as Commissioner of the Public Utility Commission, as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and as the Public Advocate for Philadelphia’s utility customers.
Real Hanger-Rendell Environmental Record
For eight straight years, Gov. Rendell and Secretary Hanger’s proposed budgets included cuts for the departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources.
A total of $1.3 billion was been diverted or cut from environmental programs to help balance the state budget or to fund programs that could not get funding on their own over the eight years of the Rendell Administration.
These Rendell cuts put appropriations for DEP at 1994 levels and for DCNR at 1995-96 levels, wiping out nearly a decade of steady growth in the state’s commitment to the environment.
Complement levels at DEP were reduced by over 378 positions from 3,211 in FY 2002-03 to 2,835 at the end of the Rendell Administration, even less if you take out the 105 positions DEP added for the Marcellus Shale drilling inspection and permit program during that time.
The FY 2009-10 budget cuts alone required DEP and DCNR to furlough or eliminate 333 full time positions. DCNR had to eliminate or reduce hours for 1,131 seasonal workers.
During the eight years of the Rendell Administration, DEP's General Fund budget was been cut by 40.9 percent ($245.6 million to $147 million), DCNR by 23.7 percent ($108.8 million to $82.4 million) and the Department of Agriculture by 35.2 percent ($76.1 million to $62.8 million) from the FY 2010-11 to FY 2002-03 budget.
One result of all these cuts is the permit review backlog DEP said was already building in 2009 and in truth during the last 7 years of the Rendell Administration, delaying hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development projects across the state.
Click Here for more details on the real Hanger-Rendell environmental record.
Hanger Announcement Continued
Hanger, who lives in Hershey, said he’s taking the school bus between Philadelphia and Harrisburg to emphasize his commitment to public education.
“A good public education system is the foundation of a growing economy that generates good-paying jobs. Businesses today, and more importantly, the businesses of tomorrow need well-educated, high-skilled workers and will locate where those workers are,” said Hanger. “That’s why Tom Corbett’s attack on public schools and universities is so disastrous for every educational level and also for our future economic well-being.”
“We cannot afford another Corbett term in office,” Hanger continued. “Corbett’s education policies destroyed 19,000 education jobs, raised class sizes, and ended tutoring programs, language classes, arts programs and extra-curricular programs like sports. His education cuts also raised local property taxes. And local taxpayers are now paying more for less.”
“When elected governor, I will make our schools and universities the first priority for funding, not the last; I will make sure taxpayer money given to charter schools, including cyber charters, is not wasted or stolen; and, I will immediately end what ESPN Magazine called Corbett’s vendetta against Penn State.”
Hanger also supports Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane’s commitment to fully investigate the handling of the Sandusky case.
Hanger also said that his campaign will emphasize four main issues: education, the economy, energy and the environment.
“Under Gov. Corbett’s watch, we’ve gone from being a job leader in 2010 to a job-killing laggard,” said Hanger. “When the governor took office, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was below the national average and had been for four years. Now our unemployment rate is above the national average.”
Hanger pointed out that Gov. Corbett’s only economic development strategy is to rely completely on natural gas development while ignoring or harming education, agriculture, transportation, medicine, tourism and energy sources like renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“I have a vision for how to build a growing economy and a comprehensive strategy that makes key investments in rehabilitating roads, bridges, water and sewer systems and public education,” he said. “I will partner with private businesses to strengthen manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, health care, energy, education and others to create and implement a broad-based strategy to create tens of thousands of good jobs.”
A widely-respected energy expert, Hanger said that Pennsylvania’s diverse energy resources make the Commonwealth an energy powerhouse.
“We need a comprehensive energy independence strategy that ensures the safe production of natural gas; grows our supply of renewable energy including biodiesel; saves energy and money by cutting waste; and, diversifies our transportation fuels,” said Hanger. “Unfortunately, Governor Corbett has squandered the Commonwealth’s energy potential by neglecting or harming all our power resources other than natural gas.”
Hanger also supports taxing the extraction of natural gas and using the money for education, local communities and environmental conservation and restoration.
“Environmental quality and economic prosperity are dependent on each other – you cannot grow an economy on the barren soil of a degraded environment,” he continued. “Gov. Corbett clings to the old, discredited idea that you can’t have both a good environment and a growing economy.
“As governor I will increase the budget for the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure the department has adequate enforcement capacity; create a new Growing Greener III program that conserves and restores our air, land and water; protect state parks from gas drilling; continue the moratorium on further leasing of state forestland for drilling; create a Citizens’ Ombudsman to provide timely services to people in gas drilling areas who encounter problems; and, implement the actions identified in the state’s Climate Change Action Plan that cut pollution and save money.”
During the next several months, Hanger says he will travel the state meeting people and conducting town hall listening sessions.“I want to be a governor for all Pennsylvanians,” he said. “And I look forward to meeting my fellow Pennsylvanians, learning from them and making them part of building a new Pennsylvania.”