Archive

Loopholes in Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act allow family hires

May 4, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Sometimes abstinence really is the best policy, at least for elected officials who consider handing public jobs to their relatives.

Lawmakers designed the Pennsylvania Ethics Act to eliminate conflicts of interest, but the statute … Read the rest

Throop turns request for salary data into open-records battle

April 22, 2015 | By | Posted in Features, Investigations

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Throop officials didn’t make it easy to find out how much they pay their employees, several of whom PA Independent has reported are related to borough council members who run the tiny municipality in … Read the rest

Throop’s struggles filling jobs pays off for councilwoman’s family

April 21, 2015 | By | Posted in Features, Investigations

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

When Throop ran into obstacles filling two borough jobs, Councilwoman Charlene Tomasovitch twice had a relative who was available and qualified, she said.

Tomasovitch’s fellow council members agreed to hire them, perpetuating a pattern … Read the rest

Council nepotism leads to small town government, one big family

April 20, 2015 | By | Posted in Features, Investigations

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

In the tiny borough of Throop, a five-square-mile patch of former hard coal country home to about 4,000 people in northeastern Pennsylvania, Charlene Tomasovitch needed just 726 votes to win her spot on … Read the rest

Bipartisan property tax reform tangled in partisan PA budget debate

March 25, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Based on some of the political rhetoric pouring from the Capitol, it’s easy to think an expanse the size of Lake Erie separates Democrats and Republicans when it comes to property tax … Read the rest

Charter school advocates howling mad over Wolf’s budget

March 5, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Evan Grossman │Watchdog.org

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is out to destroy charter schools, and his budget provides evidence, school choice advocates say.

On Tuesday, Wolf presented a budget that restores more than $1 billion in public education funding, including $160 million … Read the rest

Wilkes-Barre could be test case for more ACLU action against one-strike ordinances

January 29, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Adam Peters lost thousands of dollars when the city of Wilkes-Barre shuttered one of his rental properties for six months using a controversial one-strike ordinance.

The same law cost Elizabeth Mattern and her 4-year-old … Read the rest

State records: Businesses miss job pledges, but taxpayer money at stake

January 19, 2015 | By | Posted in Features, Investigations

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Chinese food buffet in the city of St. Mary’s in Elk County won a $200,000 loan backed by the Bank of John Q. Public in 2009.

The loan from the Pennsylvania … Read the rest

‘Hold harmless’ harmful to some schools

December 31, 2014 | By | Posted in Features, Investigations

By Evan Grossman │Watchdog.org

UNFAIR? All Pennsylvania schools get a minimum dollar amount that varies little from year to year, despite fluctuations in enrollment.

The flawed formula Pennsylvania uses to fund its school districts forces some of its best and … Read the rest

From write-in campaign to campaign star, Wagner rises quickly in PA politics

November 7, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

After the politicians delivered their stump speeches Monday afternoon, most of the crowd that gathered at Lancaster Airport for a stretch-run campaign rally for Gov. Tom Corbett headed immediately for the exits.

Scott WagnerRead the rest

PA GOP loses governor’s race, but rides wave to big majorities in House and Senate

November 5, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By PA Independent staff

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett might have been left standing on the beach with no surfboard as Republicans caught a wave of electoral enthusiasm Tuesday, but the rest of Pennsylvania’s GOP celebrated an otherwise dominating day at … Read the rest

Examining Gov. Tom Corbett’s record of no-tax pledges and big tax breaks

October 29, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

This is the fourth part of our series examining the issue of taxes in the 2014 gubernatorial election. In part 1 we looked at Tom Wolf’s income tax plan. In part 2 we looked at the merits of a Read the rest

The Tom Wolf income tax plan: Making the rich pay their ‘fair share’

October 23, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

Part two in a series exploring the issue of taxes in the 2014 Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. Read part one here.

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf says he wants to make taxes in Pennsylvania … Read the rest

The Tom Wolf income tax plan: What we know, and what we don’t

October 22, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Four years ago, Pennsylvanians went to the polls and elected Tom Corbett their 46th governor.

At the center of Corbett’s campaign platform was a simple promise about taxes — a pledge not to raise … Read the rest

Bipartisan support for making Philly teachers pay for health coverage, despite protests

October 13, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

Stacia Friedman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — On a sunny October day, Jake Howie, a sophomore at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, arrived at school at 8 a.m. He didn’t go inside the neo-classical school building on … Read the rest

Could frack tax be a big ‘frack you’ to local communities?

October 10, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Some Pennsylvania residents remain skeptical of a severance tax on fracking, especially because it might eliminate the current impact-fee system, which has brought in more than $200 million a year.

Jodi Noble, township manager for … Read the rest

Despite tensions over tables, Penn State speech policy checks out, professor says

October 8, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

When Penn State University officials clamped down on a Young Americans for Freedom event about free-speech policies because of a table — on Constitution Day, no less — it looked like a battle over the First … Read the rest

Billion-dollar windfall or job-killer? Candidates for governor still at odds over gas tax

October 6, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The gubernatorial election finally could help settle a longstanding question about natural gas drilling and taxes in Pennsylvania.

The debate over whether the state should levy a severance tax has dogged Gov. Tom Corbett … Read the rest

Hanover’s amusement tax debate heads into bonus round

September 25, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HANOVER, Pa. — Brandon Spencer left Wednesday night’s borough council meeting baffled.

That’s because the meeting offered no definitive answer to the question of whether Spencer’s TimeLine Arcade is subject to the borough’s amusement tax. … Read the rest

Advocates: Philanthropy is a Philadelphia school’s best friend

September 23, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Stacia Friedman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — Some say money can’t solve Philadelphia schools’ problems.

Don’t tell that to Jessica Pena, director of The Great School Fund. At a time when Harrisburg is tightening the belt around Philadelphia schools, The Great … Read the rest