Archive

In Pennsylvania, shipping wine a complicated affair

June 15, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Wine connoisseurs in 30 states can buy their vino the 21st-century way: From Amazon.

Pennsylvania merlot lovers can’t count themselves as so lucky, thanks to stringent regulations that largely bar the direct shipment … Read the rest

Veto power? PA couple says PUC gives movers ability to block new competition

June 1, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Cosmo Losco and his wife Mary Anne want to start a moving business, but they need a license from the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission before they can haul boxes from one apartment to another.… Read the rest

Private enterprise helps handle urban blight in Erie

May 27, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

ERIE, Pa. — It’s nice when being a do-gooder also works to your advantage.

“We live here, we work here, we play here,” Leah Knapp, spokeswoman for Erie Insurance, told Watchdog.org. Having a livable … Read the rest

Erie shows wrong way to shop for economic growth solutions

May 26, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

ERIE, Pa. — After sitting empty for decades, by 2001 Erie’s historic Koehler Brewery was ready for a major facelift.

The vacant brewery complex sprawled over the better part of a city block, its smokestack … Read the rest

Erie eatery an example of innovative business launch campaign – without government

May 25, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

FOOD APPEAL: Mike and Liz Augustine appealed to the world at large to help them transition from a pop-up restaurant to their own brick-and-mortar business. Their campaign was fully funded in 29 hours and went on to raise nearly $10,000

Read the rest

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 … 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 … 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 … 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