A veteran Pennsylvania government reform advocate has launched a new political action committee aimed at driving a unique agenda in Harrisburg. The new Majority PA political action committee (PAC) has cobbled together a modest political agenda:
- Tax the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.
- Privatize the state liquor stores.
- Restore spending cuts to public education.
Don't see a clear ideology mapped out there? That's because there really isn't just one, according to the group's chair, Tim Potts. He said that the overall hope is to win the respect of the majority. Majority PA will lobby for policies that show overwhelming support in accredited public opinion polls.
"The only ideology that drives us is the right of people to govern themselves and the duty of government to do that. That is the sole ideology that drives us. What I think about something does not matter to the agenda. It just doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what valid public opinion research tells us," he said.
Potts points to Washington D.C.'s debt debacles as a good example of how, as he puts it, a handful of people are wagging the dog.
"People want the dog to have its way this time. And there isn't any other way to enforce the majority agenda. There just isn't, because all of the money in politics is going to the left or the right. Nobody's supporting the middle. I'm hoping that you know citizens will do that. If they don't, then this is probably a good idea that won't go anywhere," said Potts.
So far the group has buy-in from a few friends, but the hope is that more people sign up to contribute.
"We're just getting started. There are exactly six people who have put money into this so far: my wife and I and four friends. We don't have any deep pockets behind us. This will succeed or fail on the basis of individual citizens who are willing to make contributions to let us do this work and represent them," he said.
Potts acknowledges that the majority may not always be right, but said that the majority should have its way.
"You see things changing all the time in the majority as people learn and they learn more about it, and one of the nice things about public opinion research is, the more important the issue, the more often it's going to be polled, and the more in-depth it's going to be polled, so we have greater confidence, so we know not just what people want, but why they want it," he said.
Majority PA supports levying a tax on natural gas drillers, restoring funding to public education, taxing smokeless tobacco and cigars, and selling the state's liquor stores. Other items are pending additional polling research and will only be added if there is a consistent majority opinion.