inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

McSWAIN: I Will Cut Pennsylvania’s Gas Tax in Half

Over the past few years, the Pennsylvania economy has been ravaged like never before. Oppressive, irrational state mandates have shuttered businesses, closed schools, and forced hard-working families to struggle to make ends meet. Liberal career politicians like Tom Wolf and Josh Shapiro have prioritized their own radical agendas over serving Pennsylvanians, while the quality of life for working families has plummeted.

While Wolf and Shapiro were busy picking and choosing which businesses to destroy during the pandemic, they also failed to address the extremely high tax burden that Harrisburg has placed on the average Pennsylvanian. The most glaring example is our highest in the nation gas tax, whose hefty impact looms over us with every gas station we pass on the road. Wolf and Shapiro have allowed the radical left to dictate policy instead of spending the last eight years working to lower the gas tax in Pennsylvania and harnessing the resources under our feet to make energy costs cheaper for everyone.

This failure is exacerbated by Joe Biden’s disastrous energy policies at the national level, which have left our country reliant on ruthless dictators and enemy nations for oil. As a result, Pennsylvanians have been met with skyrocketing inflation, an unstable state economy, and a crippling gas tax, often forced to make the impossible choice between paying for gas and groceries.

This is entirely unacceptable. While Biden, Wolf, Shapiro, and other career politicians prioritize government programs that take taxpayer money with no return, I know that the real cure to our economic woes is to put the people back in charge.

That starts with a solution to our state gas tax. As governor, I will permanently reduce this tax by 50 percent, which will effectively repeal the gas tax raise enacted in 2013 and put paychecks back where they belong – in the wallets of hardworking Pennsylvanians.

Many of our elected officials, and several of my opponents, have suggested Band-Aid solutions like gas tax holidays or temporary cuts, but this is not enough. Families and small businesses suffer the most when gas taxes are through the roof. Pennsylvanians deserve a permanent reprieve.

Some tax-loving politicians argue the gas tax funds necessary programs and services. Really? The massive gas tax increase enacted in 2013 was billed as a solution to Pennsylvania’s rundown roads and bridges. And, yet, while we pay more at the pump, and our turnpike is the most expensive in the nation, our roads and bridges are still in disrepair.

So, where did the money go? Unsurprisingly, career politicians view their constituents as little more than ATMs and rarely bother to deliver what they promise. In fact, the gas tax increase was just a drop in the bucket of our ever-growing state budget. Pennsylvania’s operating budget has ballooned under the Wolf administration, and, unfortunately, Pennsylvanians have little to show for it. We are long overdue for transparency, accountability, and fiscal prudence regarding state programs and funds.

As governor, I will evaluate the entire state budget and cut areas of wasteful spending. I will stand up to career politicians in Harrisburg who want to tax citizens into oblivion to pay for bigger and bigger budgets. There will be no more gimmicks, no more harmful taxes, and I will end egregious corporate welfare. By reducing the size of government and prioritizing our spending, our commonwealth will retain funding for crucial infrastructures like roads and bridges, safeguard public safety initiatives, and restore a business and family-friendly culture so that our economy can thrive.

This is just the first step in restoring Pennsylvania to a place of national prominence. Pennsylvania has everything it needs to become an energy and economic powerhouse, but it will take a conservative outsider to get us there. As governor, I will be committed to fully harnessing the potential of Pennsylvania’s energy resources. I will fight to shrink the size of government, make sure the people of Pennsylvania have permanent relief at the pump, and work to implement policies that will strengthen our economy by reducing the burden on business owners, families, and hard-working taxpayers. Better days are ahead for Pennsylvania, and I am excited to lead us there.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

STEIN: Looking Back at DelVal News for 2021

“There is a Chinese curse which says May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind,” Robert F. Kennedy said in 1966.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, the country and the Delaware Valley have been living in “interesting times,” to say the least. Everything from shopping to education to sports has been seen through the lens of COVID, and whether it might lead one to contract it or would mitigate the virus.

Local and state governments collected numbers and issued mandates. Schools were locked down, reopened, and some locked down again. One of the biggest political stories the Delaware Valley Journal covered in 2021 was the rise of parent power. Parents objected to COVID lockdowns and masks at school board meetings, parents opposed to Critical Race Theory, and shocked parents asking school boards to remove what they deem as pornographic books from school libraries, along with school boards limiting parents’ free speech rights.

This also gave rise to election victories for school board candidates who promised not to shut down schools again and the successful statewide political strategy of Back to School PA PAC, which gave about $700,000 to back those candidates’ campaigns.

Another big story this year is crime and violence in Philadelphia, arguably driven by progressive prosecution—or lack thereof—by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office headed by DA Larry Krasner, who was re-elected in November. As of this writing, 555 people were victims of homicide in Philadelphia in 2021—a horrific new record.

At the state government level, voters sent a clear message to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in May when they approved ballot initiatives limiting his emergency powers. It was a also the year when amazing numbers of Republican candidates began vying for the governor’s seat in the 2022 primary, along with similarly large  fields of hopefuls of both parties seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey. The Senate race, which may tip the balance of the Senate, could become one of the most closely-watched political contests in the U.S.

The 2021 election process in some DelVal counties also came under fire as delays, mistakes, and mail-in ballots caused consternation.  That has also been a huge issue nationwide since former President Donald Trump questioned the validity of the election process that resulted in his defeat in the swing states, including Pennsylvania. And a lawsuit was filed against Delaware County officials alleging malfeasance in the handling of the 2020 election there.

Another statewide issue in the DelVal Journal was Wolf’s unilateral plunge into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a move that will undoubtedly limit Pennsylvania’s job growth and drive up energy costs for businesses and residents.

RGGI is supposed to reduce greenhouse gases by an auction process for power producers and industrial plants in 12 states, which buy credits to offset emissions. But those other RGGI states are not energy producers like Pennsylvania, with its wealth of natural gas.

And we have closely followed the controversy over the $6.1 billion Mariner East II pipeline. Some residents who live in the vicinity of the pipeline along with public officials have fought the pipeline, while overlooking clear benefits from the pipeline for employment, safety over rail or truck transport, and reduced energy costs. Luckily, for the economy of the DelVal region those efforts appear to have failed and the project is on track for completion.

Locally, Hurricane Ida hit some DelVal areas hard with flood damage as streams overflowed their banks while tornadoes pummeled parts of Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

National issues of inflation and supply-side woes also affected the Delaware Valley region as the Biden administration’s energy and regulatory policies began to be felt here.

In Norristown, the DelVal Journal broke a story regarding Norristown Area School Board President Shae Ashe sending sexually suggestive messages on social media to an underage Norristown High School girl. In the wake of those articles, Ashe resigned from the board and, although he was re-elected, did not return to it.

In Delaware County, the new Health Department, promised by Democrats who were elected to a majority in the county council in 2019, is taking shape and expected to open in 2022. It will cost taxpayers an estimated $10 million its first year.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

Wolf Suffers Setback as State Supreme Court Strikes Down Mask Mandate

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court handed Gov. Tom Wolf yet another setback in his ongoing effort to use the COVID-19 pandemic to expand his power, striking down a mask mandate critics said was clearly beyond his authority.

On Friday, the state’s highest court both affirmed a lower court’s finding that Wolf’s health department lacked the authority to impose a mask mandate and also vacated an order allowing the administration to enforce the mandate during the appeal process.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for parents and communities whose opinions have been ignored by the Wolf administration for far too long,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), one of the plaintiffs in the case. “The ruling today is about much more than masks in schools; it is about preventing government overreach in general. The law clearly does not give any governor or any state agency the power to create orders out of thin air in the absence of an emergency declaration and outside the regulatory review process.”

Corman, a GOP candidate for governor, argued that Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam didn’t have the authority to impose the mask mandate without going through the formal regulatory process.

“This ruling means we will not have to deal with even more extreme, unilateral measures from the Wolf administration that devastated our economy last year, including business closures and restrictions,” Corman said.

Elizabeth Rementer, press secretary to Wolf, said, “The administration’s top priority from the beginning of this pandemic has been and remains protecting public health and safety, including students and staff, to ensure in-person learning continues. We are awaiting an opinion on the decision, but the outcome is extremely disappointing. That said, the administration recognizes that many school districts want to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff, and we are hopeful they will make appropriate mitigation decisions moving forward.”

“The administration urges school districts to prioritize the health and safety of their students and staff when making mitigation decisions. ​Masking is a proven and simple way to keep kids  in school without interruption and participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities. Universal masking in schools, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend, reduces the risk that entire classrooms will need to quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 case,” she added.

“The administration also continues to urge all eligible Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated, get boosted, and take your children ages 5 and older to get vaccinated. Appointments are available statewide for Pennsylvanians ages 5 and older for their primary series and 16+ for their booster shot. Vaccines are safe, effective, and readily available across Pennsylvania. Visit to find an appointment,” she said.

This isn’t Wolf’s first defeat in the battle over the reach of the governor’s power.

In May, Pennsylvania voters approved two amendments to the Commonwealth’s constitution restricting the governor’s power to declare and then extend states of emergency. Amendment 1 authorized the General Assembly to terminate an emergency by a majority vote of both houses, as opposed to a two-thirds vote and the governor’s agreement. Amendment 2 limited emergencies to 21 days instead of the previous 90, and allowed mandates to only be extended by the Assembly, not the governor.

And Wolf found himself in political hot water over the arbitrary way he and his administration handed out exemptions to favored businesses during the 2020 lockdown. The GOP-led legislature opened an investigation in response. In September 2020, a federal judge ruled Wolf’s far-reaching lockdown orders were unconstitutional.

Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Majority Leader Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) Friday echoed the GOP message that the real issue isn’t masks, it’s mandates that exceed the governor’s legal powers.

“This debate has never been about the effectiveness of masks in schools, or any other setting. It is about whether or not each branch of our state government and the officials who work in those branches will follow the law and respect our Constitution’s design that directs the legislative branch to make the laws that govern our people.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of how you feel about this particular issue. It shows that our system of checks and balances works in the interest of all people, so that no singular voice can silence the voice of free people who allow themselves to be governed,” they said.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or