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The Wolf raises: Spittle from the clarion

| Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Whatever positive clarion Gov. Tom Wolf sounded about attacking Pennsylvania's $2.3 billion budget deficit by, in part, refusing his office's $190,823 salary, staying at his York County home and banning gifts to his staff is being drowned out by the spittle of pay hikes for his top officials.

Facing a $4.2 billion deficit, Mr. Wolf's predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett, had his Cabinet officials refuse automatic cost-of-living raises authorized by a 1995 law. But instead of following that sensible precedent, Wolf is starting his Cabinet's salaries where they would have been had Mr. Corbett's Cabinet members taken their COLAs. Some executive branch jobs not covered by 1995's law are getting pay hikes, too.

Thus, 19 department heads will cost a total of $230,346 more this year than they did in 2010. It sends a terrible message to taxpayers who will be tapped to close the budget gap. Think greed, arrogance, entitlement and self-service before public service.

So much for Tom Wolf's “unconventional governor” pledge. Making a show of his own frugality, he plunders taxpayers' pockets to fill those of his top officials.

That's a costly mistake, on so many levels, that could have been — should have been — avoided. That Gov. Wolf embraced it reflects poorly on an administration that promised a new way if not the proverbial new day.

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