Archive

Week in review: PA credit rating takes a hit; arcade owner battles big tax

July 25, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

The fallout over Pennsylvania’s patchwork budget started earlier this week, with Moody’s dropping the state’s credit rating and citing the stop-gap spending plan as part of the reason.

Elsewhere, a small business owner is battling a … Read the rest

Court ruling clears way for charter schools to expand

July 23, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A Commonwealth Court ruling on Tuesday could pave the way for charter schools outside Philadelphia to expand their operations and take on more students.

In a 2-1 ruling, the court overturned an earlier decision … Read the rest

Court ruling imperils Obamacare subsidies in Pennsylvania

July 23, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit dealt a potentially devastating blow to Obamacare on Tuesday when it ruled that only those who enrolled via state-run exchanges qualified for … Read the rest

Week in review: Backroom meetings, stalled reform and ‘vortex of political hell’

July 18, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Pennsylvania’s Capitol has finally settled down after a rocky budget season that saw Gov. Tom Corbett sign a $29 billion spending plan 10 days late — but not without axing more than $72 million in legislative … Read the rest

‘Vortex of political hell’ captures Philly’s cigarette tax bill

July 15, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter gets credit for calling it like he sees it.

An obviously frustrated Nutter told reporters last week he was tired of watching the legislative ping-pong over a bill that would … Read the rest

House ends pension debate by sending bill back to committee

July 2, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Fifteen Republicans broke ranks and voted with a unanimous block of House Democrats to shut down debate on a pension bill Tuesday afternoon and send it back to committee.

It was an inglorious end … Read the rest

Budget and pension reform aside, PA has plenty of other unfinished business

July 2, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The theme at the state Capitol this week could be “unfinished business.”

After all, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has refused to sign a no-new-taxes budget passed by state legislators from his … Read the rest

Senate backs higher cigarette tax to pay for Philly schools

July 1, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Smokers in Philadelphia soon could be paying extra taxes to support the city’s schools.

The state Senate on Monday approved an amendment that would allow the City Council to impose a $2 per-pack tax … Read the rest

Philly schools to get $39M boost in House-passed budget, but want more

June 27, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia would receive a modest increase in state funding next year under the provisions of a budget bill approved this week by the state House.

The Republican-crafted budget attempts … Read the rest

Week in Review: Talks on budget, pensions and paycheck protection march on

June 27, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

HARRISBURG, Pa. — It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for our usual week in review.

Don’t let that fool you, though. This week is far from over.

State lawmakers are on their fifth of eight straight … Read the rest

House counting on liquor privatization, one-time transfers for budget

June 25, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Finally, we’ve got a real, live budget proposal from the General Assembly.

After shuffling around a shell bill that simply serves as a vehicle for the state’s 2014-15 spending plan, Republicans on … Read the rest

Report finds no evidence politics played role in Sandusky investigation

June 24, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — To borrow from Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s 2012 campaign mantra, it looks like Gov. Tom Corbett was a prosecutor, not a politician — at least when it came to investigating the now-convicted … Read the rest

School district costs central to PA Republicans’ pension pitch

June 23, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Pennsylvania’s House Republican leaders hope to vote on a pension overhaul bill this week, and they spent the past week trying to court votes from members who are still on the fence.

Since all … Read the rest

Week in Review: Late budget possible as Corbett waits on pension reform

June 20, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Another week has passed without pension reform, liquor reform or significant advances in dealing with the state’s budget.

While lawmakers expect the action to heat up next week – when they start a schedule of eight … Read the rest

Turnpike tolls to rise again next year — and they’ll keep rising

June 18, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The cost of using the Pennsylvania Turnpike will increase next year.

The Turnpike Commission voted Tuesday to raise tolls by 5 percent for both cash-paying customers … Read the rest

No surprise: State still has a revenue problem, IFO says

June 17, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — With just two weeks left before the June 30 budget deadline, the state’s Independent Fiscal Office has released its latest revenue projections.

And, yeah, Pennsylvania still has a problem.

The IFO projected Read the rest

Week in Review: Pressing issues left for another day

June 13, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Pennsylvania lawmakers left Harrisburg this week without addressing pension reform and the future of the state-owned liquor stores and gave no clear indication of how they’ll address a budget deficit that’s creeping closer to $2 billion … Read the rest

Loophole allows school districts to raise property taxes

June 11, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Maura Pennington | PA Independent

PHILADELPHIA — One in three school districts in Pennsylvania is raising property taxes without the consent of residents, thanks to a loophole in a state law meant to relieve the burden of rising education costs.… Read the rest

Proposal to thin legislature growing complicated in state Senate

June 10, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — An idea to reduce Pennsylvania’s Legislature started simply in the state House, which approved two clean bills last year that would cut the General Assembly by about 25 percent.

It’s been a … Read the rest

Week in review: Worry over EPA rules and a ‘paycheck protection’ push

June 6, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

This week, President Obama unveiled his sweeping plan to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade and a half, leaving Pennsylvania’s coal industry worried about its future.

Union officials across the state were probably also wondering … Read the rest