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Robinson-Moon Patch: 2012 Election Guide

The candidates and issues most important to Robinson and Moon voters in 2012.

As we look ahead to November’s elections, Robinson-Moon Patch is devoted to bringing you the information you need about every race in town.

Here's our start on the candidates and issues we'll be covering as November draws near. Bookmark this page for updates.

 

Candidates with Moon roots vie for 44th district

Two former Moon officials on the heels of their own electoral losses will compete against one another in this fall's race for the state's 44th legislative district, which includes both Moon and Robinson. 

 a Republican incumbent, faces Democrat Mark Scappe in the general election for the seat. Both candidates reside in Moon. 

In the spring Republican primary, Mustio, a former president of the Moon Township Board of Supervisors, lost his bid to replace longtime state Sen. John Pippy in the 37th district.

His opponent a Mt. Lebanon software company CEO, instead won the nomination. 

Mustio gained just 25 percent of the vote in the three-way race. He now faces Democrat Scappe, who Moon voters ousted from the Moon Area School Board in the 2011 municipal race. Scappe had served on the board for more than a decade. 

 

Contested race for Pippy's seat in the 37th district

Many thought Raja would face an uncontested election for Pippy's vacated seat. But in July, state Rep. Matt Smith, who serves the state's 42nd legislative district, entered the race. 

Now, political observers have dubbed the race as one of the most competitive in Pennsylvania this election cycle.

Raja and Smith will take part in a "meet the candidates event" Oct. 19 at the Cornerstone in Oakdale. 

 

Among the key issues: 

PA Property Tax Reform

Gov. Ed Rendell promised that revenue from slots parlors and gaming tables would greatly reduce or in some cases eliminate property taxes. Years later, that promise remains unfulfilled with the average savings per household at $186 in 2011, according to data from the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations.

There is new legislation, albeit in limbo right now, which would eliminate a school district’s ability to levy a property tax, replacing that funding with an increase in sales and personal income taxes statewide.

The state house finance committee tabled the Property Tax Independence Act on Monday, but the issue is not likely going to go away.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks, the measure would hike the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent statewide and raise the personal income tax rate from 3.07 percent to 4 percent. In Allegheny County, the sales tax would rise to 8 percent. 

In addition, many goods and services currently exempt from the sales tax would be taxable under the bill, which aims to raise $10 billion dollars to replace the revenue that would be lost by the elimination of school property taxes. 

 

Liquor Store Privatization
Gov. Tom Corbett is trying to do what two of his Republican predecessors, over a span of 30 years, could not, privatize state stores so that private retailers can sell wine and liquor.

The bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, could come up for a vote in the House by week’s end. If approved, it would go on to the Senate for consideration in the fall.

"House Bill 11 is about divestiture. House Bill 11 is about the consumer. It is about reasonable prices and better selection and more convenience. It is about upgrading law enforcement," said Turzai when he first introduced the measure last July. "It is about moving from a public sector dinosaur into the modern 21st century."

Only two states, Pennsylvania and Utah, have complete control of all aspects of wine and spirits distribution, according to a report that the governor's budget office commissioned. 

Not everyone agrees that House Bill 11 is the way to go.

"The House Liquor Control Committee passed a version of HB 11, which would leave the Liquor Control Board intact, a major turnaround from Turzai’s original proposal to completely privatize liquor sales," states a story from 90.5 FM Pittsburgh Essential Public Radio. 

The union that represents state liquor store managers has lobbied against the bill; two Pennsylvania chapters of the United Food Commercial Workers, representing state store employees, also oppose the bill, the 90.5 radio story states.

"The Independent State Store Union says that the bill’s provision to allow beer distributors to begin selling wine will cause the state store system to slowly diminish," according to the story. 

The ISSU also opposes the bill.

 

Maggi takes on five-term incumbent Murphy for 18th district

Republican incumbent , will seek his sixth term serving the 18th Congressional District, which includes all of Moon Township and parts of Robinson. 

Murphy faces Democrat Larry Maggi, a who announced his bid in January. 

 

Republican Smith seeks to unseat Casey in Senate race

Incumbent Democrat Bob Casey of Scranton, Lackawanna County, faces a well-funded challenge from Republican Tom Smith of Shelocta, Armstrong County in the race for one of Pennsylvania's two U.S. Senate seats.

Casey, a son of the late Gov. Robert Casey, won the seat in 2006 after defeating former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Prior to entering the Senate, he served as state auditor general and treasurer.

Smith, a coal businessman and multimillionaire, is a founder of a Tea Party group in Indiana and Armstrong counties.

 

President Barack Obama vs. former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

History 
Pennsylvania has delivered its 20 electoral votes to the Democratic nominee for President in the last five elections. If current polls hold steady, Obama will make it six in a row in November.

The president has not taken Pennsylvania’s support for granted and has made several trips to Western Pennsylvania in the past several years, even going as far as choosing Pittsburgh to host the G-20 summit in 2009. In his most  president lobbied for his $447 billion American Jobs Act, which continues to face an uphill battle with Republicans in Congress.

The president has also sent what many consider his most potent weapon, his wife, to shore up support in the Pittsburgh area. First Lady Michelle Obama visited with service members of the 911th Airlift Wing and 171st Refueling Wing in April. Vice President Joe Biden also visited the Moon Township base in May.

Mitt Romney is no stranger to the region either, even though some experts suggest the GOP nominee seems to place little importance on winning votes in Pennsylvania.

Romney visited Pittsburgh for a fundraiser in October; the event was closed to the media.

He returned for an April campaign stop in Bethel Park, where he outlined his plans for the economy.

“I’d like to reduce the burden on middle-income taxpayers,” Romney said. “I’d like to see anyone making $200,000-$250,000 or less—which is 98 percent of Americans—save their money tax-free. No capital gains. It’ll make filing taxes a lot easier and people can save money for things they care about."

Romney was back in Pittsburgh a month later, criticizing the president for the nation’s unemployment rate during a visit to a family-owned manufacturing plant in O’Hara.
 


Key Issue
The No. 1 issue for Western Pennsylvania voters, as with many others across the country, is jobs and the sluggish economic recovery.

President Obama continues to campaign for the American Jobs Act, which the White House says will prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, allow for the hiring of tens of thousands of police officers and firefighters, encourage the hiring of returning veterans and invest billions into roads, rails, airports and waterways.

He blames Congress for not doing enough.

Congress “hasn’t acted fast enough,” the president told supporters at a recent rally. “Congress," he said, “can’t just sit on their hands.”

Governor Romney and other Republicans suggest the Obama plan is nothing more than a payoff to Democratic constituent groups, particularly organized labor, which would benefit from federal grants to states to keep government workers on the payroll, as well as construction projects to be completed by union job crews.

On his campaign’s web site, Romney blames the President’s policies for the lack of job growth.

“The vast expansion of costly and cumbersome regulation of sectors of the economy, ranging from energy to finance to health care. When the price of doing business in America rises, it does not come as a surprise that entrepreneurs and enterprises cut back, let employees go, and delay hiring,” Romney said.

Need to register to vote? Click here to find out how you can register locally. 


Lucy March October 02, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Your choice of wording in this article gives away your political leanings. Used to be that newspapers and the like were neutral, not anymore. And let's not comment on foreign policy because we all know that Obama is doing such a great job on that.
Jenna Staul (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Hi Lucy, Thanks for the feedback. Would you be able to more specifically point out what part of the article you take issue with? We'd like your input. Thanks, Jenna
Shannon Spicker October 02, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Probably the part about Gov. Romney placing little importance on winning votes in PA, while obama hasn't taken it for granted...I agree with Lucy, your article does lead me to believe that you are an obama supporter. What about Paul Ryan? Hasn't he visited PA? You failed to mention him but did note that Michele and Joe were here.
Jenna Staul (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Well, I didn't write the later part of the story. But I believe Rich was just echoing a general sentiment from pundits about the number of times the candidates have visited the states, spent on advertising, etc.. Specifically, he's linking out to an article on the PoliticsPA site (http://www.politicspa.com/pa-swing-state-status-takes-another-hit/36246/)
George Kniss October 02, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Good job Jenna, good overview. Don't let the partisan nit-picking get you down. However, can you give us more info on the Murphy vs. Maggi race, positions and issues? This is an important race for those of us interested in who represents us in the U S House of Reps. Also, how about the Casey vs. Smith race? I think the US Congressional races are much more important than the Pres. race right now. Thanks again for the good efforts on this.
Jenna Staul (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Hi George, Absolutely, those are both important races. We'll be covering the Murphy/Maggi race in the 18th district more closely than the Senate race, as it's more local to us. This is just our election guide. It's a broad overview of races this election cycle and it will be continually updated. We will have more specific news items in the coming weeks on those races, and we hope you'll check back with us for more. But, yes, couldn't agree more on the impact of those local races over the presidential one.
RealMoonResident October 03, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Thanks for the article. It is interesting that given the importance of the PA 18th race, it's received so little coverage.The Democratic party has done a terrible job of informing voters of Larry Maggi's name, or even that Murphy has a competitor. The comments of those who criticize the wording reveal that they are less than secure in their political beliefs and, therefore, are easily swayed by others. I guess nitpicking short, free, online articles is their way of getting some intellectual exercise.
RealMoonResident October 03, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Thanks for the article. It is interesting that given the importance of the PA 18th race, it's received so little coverage.The Democratic party has done a terrible job of informing voters of Larry Maggi's name, or even that Murphy has a competitor. The comments of those who criticize the wording reveal that they are less than secure in their political beliefs and, therefore, are easily swayed by others. I guess nitpicking short, free, online articles is their way of getting their intellectual exercise.
Lucy March October 03, 2012 at 10:55 AM
You have not one negative word about Obama and what he "blames" or criticizes. He blames Congress for everything BUT he had 2 years of a Democrate Senate and Congress and did nothing? With the Romney part you bring in that his event was closed to the media. In the second part again "criticize" is used for Romney but Obama blames Congress again.. This many take responsibility for nothing.
Lucy March October 03, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Yes that's an editorial piece with a few facts thrown in. Do I believe any media outlets anymore and their polls.. not likely!!
Lucy March October 03, 2012 at 10:59 AM
REALMOONRESIDENT I read LOTS of different sources for my information and don't JUST rely on FREE online articles. BUT if someone is going to write an article journalism is about being objective and not shading the view for anyone.
Miss Moon October 03, 2012 at 11:34 AM
"Lucy March" I sincerely hope she doesn't respond to you again. She took the time to explain to you the article, but you don't seem to get it. Just because an article contains information that you don't agree with doesn't mean it is biased. You just said yourself that you don't ever believe the media (I'm sure you have some truly enlightening conspiracy theories to run off of ...) so what exactly is the point you are trying to make?
Lucy March October 03, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I said "not likely" I didn't say "don't ever" I am not a conspiracy theorist of any sort .. just would like people who share facts to share facts and who do editorials to share opinions. You do realize there is a difference? My point Miss Moon is that if it's your opinion it's an editorial if it's all fact without BIAS then it's not an editorial but an objective article. Clear?
RealMoonResident October 03, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Agreed. If an article doesn't agree with someone's world view, it's slanted journalism, not information.
Louie in Moon October 03, 2012 at 01:02 PM
First time Patch commenter, long time reader! Here goes... Lucy, I am a registered Republican with a Mitt Romney sign in my yard right here in Moon. But I think your comments are misguided. Misguided comments make us all look bad. The Romney campaign has spent less money in PA. It's not her opinion it is true. I don't think it is a slight to the campaign or any act of slanted journalism to justpoint that out. The campaign made a decision to focus resources elsewhere, not here. So I do think its perfectly legitimate of them to just say that.
Jenna Staul (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Lucy, if you have additional questions about an article you can always feel free to email me at Jenna.Staul@patch.com. I can maybe try to further clarify a point in an article. Thanks, Jenna
Sharpie November 05, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Make a special note to watch the Free and Equal Election Debate between third party Presidential candidates, Gov. Gary Johnson (Libertarian ) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green) to be aired tonight on Monday evening, Nov. 5th from 9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern Time. Perform a worthwhile civic duty, and be certain to listen in on this historic debate so that you can make an informed decision on voting day. Third party candidates who will be on the ballot in most states deserve to be heard. http://freeandequal.org/?v=1
George Kniss November 05, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Good for you 'Sharpie', I absolutely believe that we are in desperate need of strong third party involvement. All of the media are ignoring them, and I can see why.....they will be the delusion of the two party system. The US needs strong third parties established and enduring over the years instead of rising just at certain times. They work in other advanced countries. All Americans preach that competition is good for a society, but when it comes to politics they seem to think that all of a sudden it does work! Thanks again for reminding us 'Sharpie'.
Sharpie November 05, 2012 at 07:34 PM
MUST read: "Support for Kill List and NDAA make Obama and Romney Unfit for Office" http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/reawakening-liberty/2012/nov/2/support-kill-list-and-ndaa-make-obama-and-romney-u/ Make a special note to watch the Free and Equal Election Debate between third party Presidential candidates, Gov. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green) to be aired tonight on Monday evening, Nov. 5th from 9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern Time. Perform a worthwhile civic duty, and be certain to listen in on this historic debate so that you can make an informed decision on voting day. Third party candidates who will be on the ballot in most states deserve to be heard. It is a violation of the 1st Amendament rights of third party candidates, and a violation of the free speech rights of every American, for their voices to be silenced. http://freeandequal.org/?v=1
Sharpie November 05, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Sure, George, esp important this election.

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