Scott Wagner campaigned for governor on a promise to eradicate school taxes.
While the election didn’t go his way, Wagner continued his push against school property taxes in his concession speech Tuesday night.
Wagner addressed supporters at about 10:30 p.m. in a York-area hotel conference room, several hours after polls closed and after many media outlets called the race in Wolf’s favor. Wagner said he had just phoned Wolf to concede and he also asked Wolf for a favor.
“Gov. Wolf,” Wagner said. “I’m asking you to do something about seniors who are losing their homes to taxes.”
Wagner said he met senior citizens during hundreds of campaign events who could not afford school taxes on their fixed incomes. He talked to a 78-year-old woman this week in Scranton who told him she had no money left after paying school taxes and that she had to take out a reverse mortgage.
“That’s not what America’s all about,” Wagner said. “I implore Gov. Wolf to do something for the seniors of this state.”
As a senator, Wagner co-sponsored a proposal known as the Property Tax Independence Act. The legislation would increase statewide sales and income taxes, currently 6 percent and 3.07 percent respectively, to finance school districts while zeroing out school property taxes. Wagner said he would minimize tax increases in part by reducing government spending. But the measure got rejected by the Legislature and Wolf has not supported the legislation even though Wolf originally campaigned on property tax reform in 2014.
Wagner’s political career began in 2013 when he became the first write-in candidate to win election to the Pennsylvania State Senate in history. He announced his run for governor in 2017 and thanked his staffers and volunteers for their hard work Tuesday night.
Wagner’s political future is unclear. He did not answer questions from reporters after Tuesday night’s concession speech and staffers said they did not yet know his future plans in politics.
But Wagner said this much after two years of campaigning across the Commonwealth: “I’m going to take a vacation, I know that,” Wagner said.