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The 10 Worst GOP Governors: What Horrors Did They Unleash in 2012?

Republican governors are still imposing slash-and-burn austerity policies on their populations, but the mainstream media isn't paying much attention.

Across the country, Republican governors, many of them elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, have undermined women's health, crushed workers' right to negotiate collectively, made it tougher to vote and imposed ideologically informed slash-and-burn policies on their populations, often with little attention from the mainstream media. Last summer, we reported on 10 of the worst GOP governors and what they were up to. Where are they now? Culling voter rolls, beating up on unions, trying to sneakily ban abortion—but also, in some cases, having their power checked by a determined opposition and being forced to concede some defeats. And in a couple of cases, they're under investigation. Here's our 2012 list of the worst GOP governors.

10. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania

Corbett didn't make our list last time around, but this year, the Pennsylvania governor has made up for lost time. His attacks on public education alone make him worthy of our Hall of Shame, but coupled with a massive tax break for Shell Oil--$1.7 billion in subsidies for the oil giant—his comments about taking responsibility for future generations ring awfully hollow.

"The governor's proposal violates his own belief that the free market, and not government, should pick winners and losers," George Jugovic Jr., president of PennFuture, told The Morning Call. "Let's be clear. By choosing to offer Shell a $1.7 billion tax break while proposing to cut nearly $900 million to public education, the governor is choosing winners and losers, and he has cast his lot with choosing to further help a multibillion-dollar corporation over the education of future generations of Pennsylvanians.”

Philadelphia's school district is in mortal danger due in part to Corbett's cuts— nearly $300 million from the city, which now faces a deficit of $218 million for the coming year, and plans to shutter 64 schools and privatize more. And if that wasn't enough, Corbett has  backed a bill that would bail out the state's employers for their unpaid unemployment premiums, while cutting benefits for thousands of out-of-work Pennsylvanians.

9. Nikki Haley, South Carolina

Fresh from campaigning in Wisconsin for her fellow union-buster Scott Walker, Nikki Haley is headed home, triumphant—to an ethics investigation.

Corey Hutchins at the Columbia Free Times writes:

Subpoenas could be fluttering all over Columbia this week as an ethics panel investigating whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied as a lawmaker decides who to call as witnesses in the case.

On May 30, the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reopen an investigation into the governor. The six-member panel had previously voted that there was probable cause to investigate, but then immediately dismissed the charges. After further consideration, and new information from GOP activist John Rainey, who filed the complaint, they’re giving it a deeper look. 

She's also been rebuked by her state's Supreme Court chief justice over a plan, approved by her appointees at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, to dredge the Savannah River to make it bigger for bigger ships. “You disobeyed the law when you did not involve the Savannah River Maritime Commission in the settlement of this matter,” Chief Justice Jean Toal told Haley's appointees. (The decision to approve the dredging came shortly after Haley attended a fundraiser at an Atlanta law firm with ties to the project; she denies the connection.)

8. Jan Brewer, Arizona

Jan Brewer made her name attacking immigrants, but she's got plenty of other moves under her belt. In recent months, she cheerfully signed a bill cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood, and topped that off with possibly the worst anti-abortion bill in the country. Opponents call it the “Life Begins at Menstruation” bill because it bans abortions after 20 weeks, but claims that those 20 weeks start at the woman's last menstrual period.

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