Archive

Week in Review: All eyes looking toward Wolf’s budget address

February 27, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Most of this week was spent looking toward next week, when Gov. Tom Wolf will offer his first budget proposal.

Wolf has to tackle a shortfall that could top $2 billion. He’s already proposed cutting the … Read the rest

SRC taking teachers to Pennsylvania Supreme Court

February 26, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers are going back to court.

The SRC, which controls the cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia, will appeal a Commonwealth Court decision that blocked it from … Read the rest

Pennsylvania Legislature grew reserves in tough budget times, audit says

February 25, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Pennsylvania lawmakers last summer passed a patchwork spending plan that contributed to a credit rating downgrade and exacerbated a budget shortfall expected to top $2 billion this year.

Yet at the time the votes … Read the rest

Republicans renew quest to put beer, wine and liquor under one roof

February 23, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Almost two years ago, the Pennsylvania House made history when it passed legislation that would privatize Pennsylvania’s wine and spirits stores, relics of the Prohibition era that forced residents to buy booze from the government.… Read the rest

Hertz underpaid one PA county by nearly half a million, audit found

February 20, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — An audit by Allegheny County’s fiscal watchdog found a nearly half-million-dollar “oops” by one car rental company, and the mistake may cost another $307,000 in penalties and interest.

After that find, a deeper dig … Read the rest

Week in Review: Philly gets more charter schools, McCord pleads guilty

February 20, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

A wild School Reform Commission meeting led to five more charter schools in Philadelphia, the former state treasurer officially pleaded guilty this week to attempted extortion and some lobbyists ran afoul of the state’s Ethics Commission.… Read the rest

Commentary: Wolf’s death penalty moratorium forces conservatives to confront their views on the subject

February 17, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Many conservatives will be familiar with — and most will likely agree with — Grover Norquist‘s view that government should be small enough to be drowned in a bathtub.

Yet many who … Read the rest

Week in Review: Couch-surfing auditor boosts fiscal transparency in PA

February 13, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

We’re often critical of politicians who waste your tax dollars, but this week we told readers about Pennsylvania’s auditor general, who posts his travel expenses online and goes out of his way to save money even … Read the rest

Liquor board: No Palcohol in Pennsylvania

February 12, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Powdered alcohol won’t be available for purchase in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to deny powdered alcoholic products from having a place on the shelves of state-owned liquor stores. The … Read the rest

Donation for Philadelphia charter schools ignites skirmish

February 10, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

No good deed goes unpunished.

This is especially true in Philadelphia, where the offer of a $35 million gift ignited the latest skirmish in the city’s hostile education debate.

CHECK MARK: PSP Executive Director Mark

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Week in Review: In call for efficiency, Wolf tasks agencies to save $150 million

February 6, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

HARRISBURG, Pa. –Gov. Tom Wolf says it’s go time make state government more efficient.

Wolf announced Thursday that he has created the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency – or GO TIME – … Read the rest

Smaller district schools Philly in collective bargaining

February 6, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The Pennsylvania cities of Bethlehem and Philadelphia are about 70 miles apart, but in some respects they may as well be on separate planets.

RISING COSTS: One of three districts in the state that does

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Officers who beat man within seconds of approach still on regular duty

February 5, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Two Pittsburgh police officers remain on active duty months after they were caught on video beating a man with batons soon after they arrived on the scene at a halfway house.

“Force should be … Read the rest

How the Philadelphia teachers contract impacts charter schools

February 4, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

School choice advocates in Philadelphia are unfazed.

SCHOOL CHANGE: Terminating the expired teachers contract in Philadelphia could have saved schools $44 million this year.

Shaking off a recent court decision that will make funding anything … Read the rest

‘Toilet trike man’ says council president assaulted him while discussing NSFW graffiti

February 3, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

TOILET TRIKES AS PROTEST: Tom Suica, retired plumber and former Monaca council member, has translated his handiness into innovative objections. These toilet tricycles are in response to a borough decision last fall to eliminate residential parking in front of his

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Week in Review: GOP lawmaker calling increase to minimum wage highlights odd week

January 30, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

It was a strange week in Pennsylvania.

At the state Capitol, the former executive director of the Office of Open Records kept working, despite the fact new Gov. Tom Wolf fired him last week and locked … Read the rest

GOP state committeewoman fined for notarizing own petitions

January 26, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A former Republican state committeeman from Allegheny County wants the party to remove a committeewoman after she notarized her own nomination petitions, saying the offense cuts at the integrity of the ballot … Read the rest

PA boy school CEO: ‘Shocking’ how often teacher sex abuse occurs

January 25, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The CEO of a facility for troubled boys in western Pennsylvania is disturbed both by the recent allegations of sexual abuse at his facility, as well as how often it seems to occur generally.

Watchdog 

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Week in review: Wolf shakes up Harrisburg during first week as governor

January 23, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Gov. Tom Wolf took office on Tuesday and immediately got to work.

The new governor quickly banned gifts for the executive branch and waded into his first public battle with Republican lawmakers when he recalled former … Read the rest

New website opens school finances for public review

January 19, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman / Watchdog.org

It’s one small click for man and one giant leap for government transparency.

Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) introduced a new online tool Wednesday that gives the public greater access to school finances, how the … Read the rest