Butler Eagle: Crowd cheers for Wagner at Zelie town hall meeting

Crowd cheers for Wagner at Zelie town hall meeting
Alexandria Mansfield
Butler Eagle
August 17, 2018

Scott Wagner, 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee, expanded on his public education proposal while speaking Thursday evening at a town hall meeting in Zelienople to a welcoming crowd of about 100 people.

Wagner campaigns as a down-to-earth candidate bent on tax and education reform. His focus Thursday was explaining his recently proposed plans for education, which include adding $1 billion to public education without relying on additional taxation.

“People think I’m anti-education,” Wagner said. “I am not anti-education.”

His initiative includes awarding “bonuses” to schools with the creation of the RISE Block Grant. The grant would be “modeled after the federal Race to the Top program” and would award cash incentives to schools to implement STEM based-programs, cooperative learning curricula and technical or vocational opportunities.

We’re going to get Pennsylvania’s taxes in order,” he said. “We’re not going to play with taxes this year.”

In addition to working on taxes and education, Wagner said Pennsylvania is facing a few crises, primarily in labor and retirement.

“We are in a pension crisis,” he said. “We have got to solve this pension crisis.”

Wagner would put all new hires in state government on a 401(k) system rather than a pension.

Wagner said the state should switch to a 401(k) system to cut back on the expenses of the state providing for retirement.

“The funding needs to be used correctly,” Wagner said. “I’m not a career politician, and I don’t want to be. I’m a business guy who ran, and I’m doing this because I care.”