Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, Pennsylvanians for Accountability, targeted four GOP lawmakers in November and is now airing TV ads attacking Corbett’s education policies.
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG — A new political nonprofit claims to be holding Gov. Tom Corbett accountable on behalf of Pennsylvanians. But the group comes up short on the accountability scale, itself. The Pittsburgh-based nonprofit is called Pennsylvanians for Accountability, and in recent weeks it has been airing television ads attacking Corbett’s policies for supposedly short-changing education in order to fund corporate tax breaks. An article published Wednesday by Public Source, an investigative reporting organization based in Pittsburgh, calls attention to the group. The ads blast Corbett for playing a “shell game” that cuts money from education and forcing districts to lay-off teachers while “bankrolling big tax cuts …
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Privatization debates in the Pennsylvania General Assembly could mean changes to where Pennsylvanians can buy six packs.
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — A simple six-pack of beer is becoming a focal point of the most substantive legislative debate on Pennsylvania alcohol laws since Prohibition. A Tuesday afternoon Senate Law and Justice Committee on liquor privatization, headed by Chairman Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, featured numerous testifiers discussing the already-private industry of beer sales. Chief among the concerns from the beer distributor industry and taverns is package reform, or allowing establishments who sell beer to sell different amounts. Under current law, beer distributors cannot sell less than a case, and bars or grocery stores with the ability to sell bottles cannot sell more than a 12-pack. The Senate, under McIlhinney’s…
Friday, May 17, 2013
Medicaid expansion continues to hang over Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and budget-making lawmakers.
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG – Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say Gov. Tom Corbett has delayed long enough on a decision about expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania. And if the governor won’t make a decision, they are ready to force his hand. “If Gov. Corbett is unwilling to do the right thing, my colleagues in the Senate must send a clear message that this is unacceptable. It’s time for a vote on Medicaid expansion,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, on Tuesday. Hughes has filed a resolution to force the state Senate to vote on Medicaid expansion. If a majority of senators support the resolution, a proposal to force the state to accept the expansion would be busted out of committee and brought …
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Pennsylvania’s Sen. Pat Toomey called for a congressional investigation into the IRS target scandal in a Monday statement.
Thursday, May 16
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — Both of Pennsylvanians U.S. senators said they want to see the IRS investigated for its targeted treatment of conservative political groups. Their sentiments were released on Monday, several days after the IRS publicly stated it had targeted treatment of groups that had “tea party” or “patriot” in their names in applications for tax-exempt status. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said the issue should concern members of any political party, and that he’d like to see the matter as part of a congressional investigation. “The IRS’s actions are akin to an enemies list and further contribute to the deep cynicism that many Americans have about the government,” Toomey’s statement said. In a similar …
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
State Reps will discuss possible changes Thursday.
Wednesday, May 15
The House Children and Youth Committee, led by Rep. Kathy Watson (R-144th) of Bucks County, will hold a public hearing 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday in Harrisburg to examine possible changes to the definition of child abuse. The hearing is part of efforts by the House of Representatives to further protect children from the horrors of physical and sexual abuse. Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler is scheduled to testify before the committee. In an effort to make the hearing available to as many people as possible, the hearing will be streamed live, at www.KathyWatson144.com or at www.RepPetri.com.
An audit of the state liquor control board show the agency overstated its assets by more than $1 million over the last year.
Wednesday, May 15
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG – An audit of the state liquor control board reveals that the state agency responsible for selling and regulating the consumption of wine and liquor overstated its assets by more than $1 million during the past fiscal year. The audit, quietly released in March and uncovered by Keri Andren of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for a story published over the weekend, was conducted by the state auditor general and looked at the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2012. It shows that the PLCB does not regularly take a physical inventory, leading to the inaccurate information on financial statements. Andren explains: The audit found that in a random sample of 10 items from the LCB’s list of assets, six items …
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he's exploring another run for the Senate; Sestak narrowly lost to Pat Toomey in 2010.
A rematch between former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is in the works as Sestak announced Tuesday that he's exploring a run for the Senate in 2016. Democrat Sestak, a former Navy vice admiral, lost narrowly to Republican Toomey in 2010. Sestak, of Delaware County, has formed an exploratory committee—the equivalent of launching a campaign in terms of Federal Elections Commission paperwork, according to a Washington Post report. Can Sestak beat Toomey? Who would you vote for if the Senate election was held today? Tell us in the comments section below. Tuesday's announcement ends speculation that Sestak, 61, is raising money to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett. Sestak raised $460,000 in the first quarter of this year. A Sestak-…
A Monday hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee involved testimony on adding a fee for commercial records requests.
Tuesday, May 14
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — North Cornwall Township Manager Robin Getz said she sees the municipality’s employees spending too much time fulfilling open-records requests made to earn someone else money. That’s why she’s urging the state legislature to provide a fee structure for records submissions made for commercial purposes. “Our staff is performing the duty for a business, which is further resulting in their efforts being taken away from the taxpayers that they are there to serve,” Getz said. “Government should not be utilized as promoters for any business.” Getz was one of about a dozen people who testified in front of the Senate State Government Committee on Monday. The hearing concerned a proposed update to …
Monday, May 13, 2013
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille says the prime concerns for the judiciary branch are financial, and widespread understanding of the purpose of the courts.
Monday, May 13
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — In Pennsylvania, the judicial system isn’t much different than the other two branches of government when it comes to worrying about money. A 2013 State of the Commonwealth’s Courts report released this week shows the court system is working to cut its costs as it prepares for a slight decrease in funding next year. “At one-half of one percent of the state budget, the judiciary’s lean budget has never had deep pockets for easy savings,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille said in the report. Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget for the 2013-2014 year provides $308.1 million for the judiciary, down from $309.2 million this year, as the court requests $324 million. The report shows a few …
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ron Castille gave the reapportionment commission a passing grade, barely, on their second try at drawing a new electoral map.
Sunday, May 12
By PA Independent HARRISBURG — In a capital city teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and the first city in the nation to be charged by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission with misleading investors, the Pennsylvania state government is beginning the process of putting together a budget. Pension costs and transportation spending will loom large in the new budget, which will get its first legislative vetting next week. Gov. Tom Corbett has talked about the looming danger that Pennsylvania’s $47 billion public pension debt poses to the state budget. This week, he made it clear how that would affect the household budget as well. At the current level, the unfunded pension liability would cost each household in Pennsylvania more than…