Archive

Mixed messages making school budgets a challenge

March 26, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Imagine sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him everything you want for Christmas. Then, imagine Santa removing his beard and telling you, Don’t count on it.

In a way, that’s what’s happening in Pennsylvania.

NAUGTY

Read the rest

County controller: Something ‘reeks’ as authorities resist performance audits

March 25, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is suing four local authorities after the organizations that together have annual budgets of nearly $1 billion essentially told her evaluating efficiency is none of her business.

The lawsuit seeks an order … Read the rest

Nine of Pennsylvania’s 10 largest cities have more pensioners than workers

March 24, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Meet the new poster child for Pennsylvania’s municipal pension problems.

York is a mid-sized city of 43,000 residents in central Pennsylvania near the state’s southern border that’s facing more than $64 million in pension-related debt.… Read the rest

Wolf looks to liquor stores in plan to pay down pension debt

March 23, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Pennsylvania’s has billions of dollars of pension debt, and it’s hoping its state-owned liquor stores could help pick up the tab.

Gov. Tom Wolf wants to use increased revenue from modernizing the state-owned wine … Read the rest

GOP state lawmaker calls for open union negotiations

March 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

State Sen. Ryan Aument wants to shine a light into Pennsylvania’s figurative back room.

The Lancaster County Republican introduced a bill that would amend the state’s open-meetings law to require public notice and access … Read the rest

Total cost of Pennsylvania’s proposed budget: $78.6 billion

March 18, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania could own a bunch of professional sports team if it wanted.

OK, maybe we’re taking some liberty with that, but there is some math to back it up. If Gov. Tom Wolf’sRead the rest

Pennsylvania governor wants new energy subsidies while old ones abound

March 16, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

SUBSIDIZE IT: Gov. Tom Wolf wants the state to increase energy-related subsidies by $225 million as part of a $675-million economic development bond financed by the state’s natural gas production.

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — A proposal to … Read the rest

PA lawmaker again tries to pull state from ‘bottom of the barrel’ in terms of citizen trust

March 12, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — One Pennsylvania legislator is taking a third swing at increasing transparency about lawmakers’ work, income and possible conflicts.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel right now,” in terms of how much people trust government, … Read the rest

Wolf proposes slight funding increase for state Ethics Commission

March 12, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Gov. Tom Wolf has opened up his daily calendar, banned gifts for executive branch staff and ended no-bid contracts for private law firms in an attempt to improve ethics and transparency … Read the rest

Philadelphia DA charges 3 more in once-abandoned sting operation

March 11, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Attorney General Kathleen Kane scuttled a probe that caught several Philadelphia Democrats accepting money. The case, she said, was tainted by racism and too flawed to prosecute.

But after taking over … Read the rest

Free-market group: Wolf’s budget would cost families $1,400

March 10, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Louise Bell is 90, she has dementia and has lived in a nursing home for five years. She gets Social Security, but most of her money came from selling her home of … Read the rest

Professionals in Pennsylvania feel special enforcement hammer

March 9, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The Pennsylvania Department of State each month publicizes its list of professionals who have been disciplined by the state’s myriad boards.

A closer look, however, shows a special enforcement mechanism that has nothing to do with … Read the rest

Governor wants natural gas tax, but it won’t close Pennsylvania budget gap

March 5, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Nestled in Gov. Tom Wolf’s ambitious budget address to the Pennsylvania General Assembly Tuesday was a production tax on natural gas.

That tax could put a big dent in the state’s gaping deficit, but … Read the rest

Lawmaker fears proposed property tax cuts could be temporary

March 4, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Homeowners probably cheered Tuesday when Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a $3.8 billion property tax relief plan he said would return an average of $1,000 to them, but some lawmakers don’t believe the … Read the rest

Small businesses feel like ‘big losers’ in Wolf’s budget

March 4, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Dale Kaplan already faces a stiff challenge from Jos. A. Bank and its wrinkle-free shirts. Now, the owner of a Camp Hill dry-cleaning service is feeling the pressure from his state … Read the rest

Poll: Support for Pennsylvania gas tax focuses on jobs

March 3, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvanians’ support for a tax on gas production depends on the detail of the questions asked, a comparison of two recent polls shows.

“Small businesses, labor unions and local governments across the commonwealth are … Read the rest

GOP lawmakers again trying to limit state spending

March 3, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to present his first budget proposal Tuesday, and lawmakers are waiting to see how much the new governor wants to spend.

SPENDING SAFEGUARDS: Republican state lawmakers have

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Liquor privatization faces uncertain future after passing House

March 2, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — For the second straight legislative session, state House Republicans say it’s time to privatize liquor and wine stores.

One key lawmaker is proclaiming the government monopoly on adult beverages is destined to … Read the rest

Steelers may be ‘free rider’ in Pittsburgh transit spat

February 27, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s beloved football team has decided to punt on renewing an agreement giving fans free rides to its front door.

In an ongoing dispute between the Steelers and Allegheny County’s transit agency, the team has … Read the rest

Report: Wolf considering sales tax increase

February 27, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Just days before Gov. Tom Wolf gives his budget address, Pennsylvanians are riding a seesaw of tax policy announcements and rumors.

A report from KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh citing unnamed sources says Wolf Read the rest