A lieutenant governor candidates’ forum at the Republican State Committee Meeting in Harrisburg was a bit crowed Friday afternoon.
Seven candidates made their case to party loyalists on the eve of the GOP’s endorsement vote.
Fiscal conservatism was the theme of the day, as seven candidates laid out their arguments for why they should be the state’s number-two official.
Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley was one of many to say the Rendell Administration has let state spending get out of control.
"It’s been a 40-percent spending increase over the life of this administration. Folks, that’s got to end. What do they do? They turn to look for more revenue sources. Let’s toll I-80. Let’s put a severance tax on Marcellus Shale. No. What we have to do is start living within our means."
Activist Joe Watkins says Pennsylvania’s business climate is too hostile.
"We’re losing jobs hand over fist. Hand over fist. Rohm and Haas decided to get rid of 2,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. Mac Trucks left and went to North Carolina because North Carolina offered them an opportunity to do business in an environment that’s much more favorable than the one here in Pennsylvania."
Dauphin County Commissioner Nick DiFrancesco says the state needs to reduce spending, which means tough choices.
"You know, are our state parks worthy of funding during an economic crisis where people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and household budgets are tightening? Parks are great – but do they warrant being funded when households are struggling? We can go down the list on a lot of things."
Candidate Jean Craig Pepper says she’s against a natural gas severance tax.
"What is being proposed, currently, in the current administration, is ridiculous. You don’t want to tax this thing. As the Beatles said, let it be. Let this wonderful asset be tapped and let it make jobs for Pennsylvania. And revenue."
Russ Diamond, Steve Johnson and Chet Beiler also took part in the forum and called for reduced state spending and lower taxes.
Most of the candidates voiced support for Attorney General Tom Corbett, who’s the front-runner for the GOP’s top spot on the ticket.