Archive

The big bang theory? PA senators want to legalize fireworks for state residents

July 4, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Saying “you can’t legislate against stupidity,” three Pennsylvania senators say they’ll introduce a bill to allow state residents to buy fireworks again.

PRETTY – AND PRETTY EXPENSIVE – PACKAGE: But there’s not much

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Week in Review: Budget and liquor privatization vetoed, but pension reform alive

July 3, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

This week was all about the state budget, or Pennsylvania’s lack thereof.

In a move that hasn’t been performed in four decades, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the entire $30.1 billion GOP spending plan because it didn’t … Read the rest

Scranton handed out $3 million in ‘double pensions,’ adding to fiscal woes

June 26, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Even as it careened toward bankruptcy, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, approved $3 million in bonus pension payments for a handful of city employees.

Those extra payments effectively doubled the retirement pay of 35 … Read the rest

Week in Review: Lawmakers tackle wine shipping, 911 fees and tenure rules

June 26, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — As the June 30 budget deadline inches closer, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republicans who control the General Assembly have yet to agree on a spending plan, as they remain at odds over a … Read the rest

PA Week in Review: Budget talks dominate Harrisburg, Philadelphia schools

June 19, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Pennsylvania state lawmakers can move painstakingly slow when it comes to big public policy issues, but June always heats up as elected officials use the end-of-the-month budget deadline as leverage.

This year is no different, as … Read the rest

Drink it up: 10 gifts PLCB booze bosses took from vendors

June 16, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — The first rule about taking gifts from vendors doing business with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is that you don’t talk about taking gifts from vendors doing business with the Pennsylvania … Read the rest

Philly school funding battle comes to a head this week

June 15, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

This is a very big week for the fiscally distressed School District of Philadelphia.

MONEY MAN: Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite has been lobbying state and local lawmakers for more funding for months. He’ll get a

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Week in Review: Philadelphia School District’s fuzzy math clouds budget deficit

June 12, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

The School District of Philadelphia wants the City Council to help it patch an $80 million budget deficit, and the superintendent has been making his case using a report that contends fixed costs are forcing the … Read the rest

Outside mailers show political side of Pennsylvania budget time

June 11, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – As much as the June budget scramble is about the nitty-gritty of governing, it’s a time ripe for politicking (just check out this calendar of fundraising events as proof).

At least … Read the rest

PA House speaker lauds impact fee, decries Wolf’s severance tax plan

June 10, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – House Speaker Mike Turzai and state Rep. Jim Christiana announced Tuesday the state had raised $222 million last year from an impact fee the natural gas industry has been paying since 2011.

Tentative … Read the rest

Work on your penmanship, City Council tells Philly students

June 9, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Before Philadelphia City Council members agree to sign a check for cash-strapped city schools, they first want to make sure students can read what it says.

When the School District of Philadelphia made its annual … Read the rest

Week in Review: Pension, liquor reforms shape Pennsylvania budget debate

June 5, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

There are still a few weeks left before the June 30 budget deadline, but Republican state lawmakers are teeing up pension reform as one of their top priorities.

Liquor privatization will likely be part of the … Read the rest

Pennsylvania drillers, who already pay an impact fee, fighting new tax

June 2, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Former Gov. Tom Corbett and state lawmakers could have saved some time simply by calling an impact fee on the natural gas industry a tax.

That way, they might not be responding … Read the rest

Week in Review: Erie shows economic development doesn’t always need government help

May 29, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Economic development doesn’t always need the government to happen.

At least that’s what Watchdog reporter Rachel Martin found while visiting the northwest corner of Pennsylvania for a series about entrepreneurship in Erie that ran this week. … Read the rest

Six Philadelphia charter schools have been approved this year

May 27, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

There are still more than 20,000 names on waiting lists to get into Philadelphia charter schools.

ANOTHER CHARTER ADDED: The School District of Philadelphia has approved six new charter schools this year.

But the School … Read the rest

3 things to know about raising Pennsylvania’s 911 surcharge

May 27, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Everybody loves to gripe about the long list of surcharges and extra fees tacked onto their phone bills.

One of those pesky fees could be on the rise for Pennsylvanians, but the trade-off would … Read the rest

New website shows how Philly taxes will be used to fund schools

May 25, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

A new website is bringing increased transparency to Philadelphia’s school funding issue during a critical time for the cash-strapped school district.

TAXING PROPOSAL: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter wants to raise taxes to help pay for

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Week in Review: Pennsylvania pension reform has long road ahead

May 22, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

The state Senate made waves earlier this month when lawmakers there approved public pension reform, but the legislation still has a long road to travel, as reporter Eric Boehm explains this week.

Gov. Tom Wolf also … Read the rest

Pennsylvania charter schools grilled on financial information

May 22, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is pressing all of the state’s charter schools and cyber charters to make specific financial data available through a blanket right-to-know request filed last week.

BOOK CHECK: The Pennsylvania School

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Despite school closing, Education Management ‘committed’ to repaying state grant

May 21, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Education Management Corporation, which operates private, for-profit colleges across the country, announced earlier this month it will close 15 of its locations, including the Art Institute of York.

It’s another blow for Pennsylvania taxpayers … Read the rest