Next week, Tom Corbett will take the oath of office to become the new governor of Pennsylvania.
His supporters plan several events to celebrate and according to them, taxpayers will not pick up the tab.
Still, it is not stopping critics from asking Corbett to scale back the party, considering the economy.
If you want to go dance the night away in Harrisburg, tickets to the governor’s inaugural ball cost $150.
The majority of the inaugural tab will be paid for by corporate sponsors.
Tom Corbett ran for governor as a tight-fisted money manager, promising to be stingy with taxpayer money.
The spokesperson for the inauguration said next week’s celebration reflects that attitude, with corporate sponsors, not taxpayers footing the tab.
“This is something that historically has been done in Pennsylvania,” explained inaugural spokesperson Kirsten Page.
“We’re in a recession. We have a structural debt of five billion dollars. This is not the time to party,” said Eric Epstein of rockthecapital.org.
That’s what California Governor Jerry Brown said at his inaugural where he served hot dogs and passed the hat for donations.
Texas Governor Rick Perry will charge just $8 per ticket for a barbecue lunch.
New York’s Andrew Cuomo held no inaugural celebration.
Government reform advocate Eric Epstein said Tom Corbett should have followed their lead.
“You’re getting off on a bad foot by demonstrating that when you’re in the middle of a recession when you have to sacrifice and cut back, you’re willing to take large amounts of money from corporate donors to party,” Epstein added.
Team Corbett claims it is paring down the inaugural to reflect the times. There will be no capital parade saving financially strapped Harrisburg security costs.
The inaugural ball will be held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, the site of Governor Rendell’s event four years ago.
Corbett’s inauguration team promises it will be different here, among other things. All the bands will be from Pennsylvania, and cost half as much as Governor Rendell’s headline act from four years ago, New Jersey based Bon Jovi.
“This is pumping millions of dollars into Pennsylvania’s economy. Locally, in Harrisburg, we have hundreds of hotel rooms that are being booked by people coming in for the celebration,” Page added.
Some of those coming in are corporate sponsors paying $25,000 for a platinum sponsorship and $50,000 for a diamond sponsorship.
When asked who are the $25,000 and $50,000 sponsors, Page responded, “I actually don’t have that list. I can look into it and get it for you.”
“Nobody contributes this much money to an inauguration without expecting a return on their investment. In other words, this is about access. This is about an inside track to government contracts. This is a cute way of saying, ‘Pay to play,’” Epstein said.
“If anybody knows Governor-elect Tom Corbett, they know that said he has said many times that a donation throughout the campaign and throughout the inauguration will not buy any favors,” said Page.
Even though taxpayers won’t pay for inaugural events, the day will cost you $2.2 million.
Outgoing Governor Rendell followed another tradition, giving state employees in the Harrisburg area a paid vacation day to avoid inauguration crowds.