Corbett’s formula easy to criticize, but the correct path

When Gov. Tom Corbett sat down recently for an interview with a panel of Associated Press reporters and editors, his no-new-tax pledge was a hot topic.

Corbett maintained that he has kept his pledge not to raise taxes during the term, though some might challenge that claim as more semantic than anything else.

The fact is, there have been no hikes in personal income or sales taxes and no new taxes introduced. It’s also a fact that there has been legislation passed raising taxes on motor fuels and fees on items including birth certificates and hauling permits.

So, technically, there have been increases in what some people have paid to their state government.

But clearly, the governor has kept up with the spirit of his pledge.

And he has done that while trying to bring fiscal sanity to a state government in which the General Fund budget rose 37 percent in the previous eight years. That’s too much spending for the state’s economy to sustain.

The critics of Corbett don’t put much stock in the simple act of managing a budget that was previously out of control without taking the easy way out of raising taxes to fit the spending sprees.

But regular Pennsylvanians, hopefully, will separate the political rhetoric and half-truths of an election with actual facts.

The state government is working with a solid budget plan with spending virtually unchanged over a four-year period without increasing traditional taxes. The well of taxpayer dollars is not bottomless. It’s laudable that an administration actually recognizes that.

The best recipe for a thriving Pennsylvania is a disciplined spending plan complemented by an expanding economy, which in this state means, above all, a thriving natural gas industry. That’s not a flashy formula, and it’s an easy one to criticize.

It’s up to the voters to dig deeper than the attack advertisements before they cast a ballot in November.