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February 9th Playbook

Wolf Delivers Final Budget Address. GOP Candidates Lacking in Governor Cash. Will Allegheny County Change its Home Rule Charter? School bus shortages. Here is the Playbook.


Wolf Announces $43.7 Billion Budget Proposal: For the final time as governor, Tom Wolf delivered his budget address. So why not swing for the fences? Wolf delivered a $43.7 billion spending proposal for the fiscal year that projects a surplus of $6.4 billion.

When It Comes to Cash, GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Lag: What a difference a primary challenge makes. In the race for the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg, the gap in the cash-on-hand for candidates running for the Republican and Democratic nominations is stark. And might be unsettling for those championing the GOP in November.

McSwain and Commonwealth Partners. Perfect Together?: The Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Simply put, the group could be a deciding factor in the race for the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg. And after interviewing almost all of the Republican candidates for governor, Commonwealth Partners has thrown its considerable weight in the direction of Bill McSwain.

‘Former Ross commissioner says he’ll run for GOP spot in 17th District congressional race’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Jeremy Shaffer, the former Ross commissioner who ousted Randy Vulakovich from the state Senate before losing the general election in 2018, will try his hand at a federal office.”

‘Central Pa. House member looks to move on to the state Senate’: PennLive reports that “four-term Republican incumbent Rep. Greg Rothman announced on Tuesday he is running for the open Senate seat that was newly configured in the reapportionment process.”

‘Longietti announces he will not seek ninth term’: The Sharon Herald reports that “state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-7, Hermitage, announced today that he will not seek a ninth term in office.”

‘Central Pa. activist to seek open state House seat’: PennLive reports that “citizen activist Eric Epstein announced on Tuesday his candidacy for the open 105th House District seat.”

‘Allentown City Councilman announces candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 22nd House District’: WFMZ reports that “Allentown City Councilman Joshua Siegel has formally announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 22nd House District.”

‘Gov. Tom Wolf and his powerful legislative foes speak to different Pennsylvanias and different realities on budget day’: PennLive reports that “Wolf proposes going out on a tsunami of spending; Republicans are more worried about potential deficits ahead.”

‘Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf’s final budget plan gives billions more to education while helping businesses’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday delivered his final budget, seeking to cement his education legacy by pumping nearly $2 billion in new funding for education as well as trimming business taxes and holding the line on income and sales taxes.”

‘As Pa. tries to show it’s business-friendly, Gov. Tom Wolf proposes cuts in key tax’: PennLive reports that “the governor’s budget would take the state’s corporate net income tax from its current rate of 9.99% to 7.99%, effective Jan.1 2023, with further single percentage point reductions in 2026 and 2027.”

‘Wolf’s final Pa. budget seeks historic boost in funding for public schools’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal shows he wants his last year to be one that stands out most in his campaign commitment to increase funding for public schools.”

‘Gov. Wolf’s 2022 state budget would tackle health-related gaps exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic’: PennLive reports that “the state human services department, which manages the vast majority of healthcare-related funding, would get a sizable increase under Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal, jumping to $18.3 billion, up from $14.4 billion last year.”

‘Pa. budget plan drops state police fee for towns, lowers reliance on infrastructure funds’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2022 budget makes good on plans to reduce State Police reliance on funds generally earmarked for highway construction, repair and safety by shifting the cost burden to the general fund.”

‘Public libraries get some good news from Pa. Gov. Wolf’s proposed 2022 budget’: PennLive reports that “after years of flat-level funding public libraries, Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed a slight subsidy increase to bolster some 600 public libraries across the commonwealth.”

‘More state government workers, new child care benefit included in Wolf’s Pa. budget proposal’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal establishes a new recruitment tool to entice working parents to remain in or join the commonwealth’s workforce.”

‘Wolf calls for $125 million budget increase to benefit Pa. college students’: PennLive reports that “higher education across the state would see a $125 million boost in state funding coming their way under Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 budget proposal.”

‘Historic preservation, museums slated for funding bump under Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2022 budget’: PennLive reports that “funding for historic preservation in Pennsylvania is poised to see a slight increase under Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2022 state budget.”

‘What are the worst-rated bridges in central Pa.? Search the database’: PennLive reports that “in Pennsylvania, there are 3,198 bridges with a poor rating as of June 2021. This is the second-highest in the nation behind Iowa. A number of these are in central Pennsylvania, where the number of poor bridges range from 22 in Lebanon County to 100 in Lancaster.”

‘Highlights of Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 budget plan’: The Associated Press details the “highlights of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending plan for Pennsylvania’s 2022-23 fiscal year that starts July 1:”

‘Here’s how Pa. politicians reacted to Gov. Wolf’s 2022 budget proposal’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “following Gov. Tom Wolf’s annual budget address Tuesday, state lawmakers and officials shared their thoughts on the administration’s $43.7 million 2022 budget proposal on social media and through official statements.”

‘Confirmed as the next U.S. ambassador to Germany, Amy Gutmann reflects on nearly 18 years as Penn’s president’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Gutmann’s tenure has been extraordinary. She has raised more than $10 billion, oversaw construction of many new buildings, prioritized student aid and led the school through a recession and pandemic.”

‘Why child advocates give mixed reviews on Gov. Wolf’s new state budget’: KYW Newsradio reports that “a panel of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania child advocacy experts are weighing in on Gov. Tom Wolf’s new budget proposal, with mixed reactions on how the money will be used to improve the lives of children.”

‘Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s final budget address: Read the full text’: The Allentown Morning Call has “the full text of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s eighth and final budget address to state lawmakers.”

‘Winners and losers in Wolf’s proposed 2022-23 state budget’: The Scranton Times-Tribune lists “some of the winners and losers under Gov. Tom Wolf’s eighth and final budget proposal”

‘Dr. Oz brings Senate campaign to Greater Pittston’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Dr. Mehmet Oz who visited the Greater Pittston area Tuesday afternoon, spending time in both Pittston and West Pittston, checking out a few local businesses and getting a firsthand look at the Firefighters’ Memorial Bridge, which has been closed since August after an inspection revealed a bent eyebar.” 

‘Here’s how much Lehigh Valley schools would get under Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Allentown, Bethlehem Area and Parkland school districts would be the biggest Lehigh Valley beneficiaries of Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal, with each seeing increases topping 40% in basic education funding.”

‘Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget plan would bring an additional $102.6 million to Berks schools’: The Reading Eagle reports that “the proposal would bring an additional $102.6 million to Berks County school districts.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council votes to reject Wilkinsburg annexation, for now’: WESA reports that “Pittsburgh City Council made its final vote to disapprove a Wilkinsburg annexation on Tuesday, with councilors saying they felt that there was not enough information or time to approve it.”

‘Congresswoman Wild pressures YouTube to take down videos teaching kids how to harm themselves’: WFMZ reports that “Congresswoman Susan Wild is using Safer Internet Day to pressure YouTube to remove certain videos, specifically, those that teach kids how to harm themselves.”

‘Geothermal energy lies right beneath our feet. Could Philadelphia tap into it?’: StateImpactPA reports that “Philadelphia’s decarbonization goals run right up against PGW, the gas utility it owns. Some say the solution lies below the city.”

‘Philly is getting a new police oversight board with more power. Meet the activists, leaders, lawyers, and judges nominated to serve on it’: Billy Penn reports that “nominees for Philly’s new police oversight board introduced themselves at a Monday night virtual town hall, and for the most part, they were hailed as the new watchdogs the city needs.” 

‘Philadelphia government spends less on overtime than in past years’: KYW Newsradio reports that “overtime spending has long worried the state watchdog that oversees Philadelphia’s city budget, but on Tuesday, their members saw cause for optimism.”

‘Mayor Ed Gainey promised police changes, but Pittsburgh residents differ over way forward’: WESA reports that “Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has promised residents that there would be changes in how the city’s police force carries out its duties, especially in Black neighborhoods — and his election last year was propelled in part by critics of longstanding police tactics.”

‘Allegheny County Council votes to add ballot referendum changing candidate requirements’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Allegheny County Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance placing a referendum on the ballot for the November 8 election that would allow voters to decide whether or not the council’s Home Rule Charter can be altered.”

‘City leaders may form committee to focus on Pittsburgh’s housing stock’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “the mayor, members of City Council and top Pittsburgh housing officials may band together to form a committee to try to improve the city’s aging, energy inefficient and unaffordable housing stock.”

‘Six Allegheny County facilities must adjust ‘unacceptable’ emissions plans, health department says’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “the Allegheny County Health Department is requiring that six of the 16 air quality mitigation plans submitted to the Board of Health under the Mon Valley Episode Rule be modified and resubmitted to meet the health department’s standards.” 

‘Q&A: Meet Lancaster County’s new Democratic commissioner John Trescot, an engineer and retired executive’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster County’s new county commissioner, John Trescot, wants you to know he isn’t interested in politics but has a lot of questions.”

‘Berks County Residential Center once again housing asylum seekers, advocacy group says’: The Reading Eagle reports that “the Shut Down Berks Coalition says its members received confirmation that ICE had resumed operations at the center in Bern Township last month.”

‘Mayor: Finances to be accurately reflected in Williamsport’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “Mayor Derek Slaughter remains keen on continuing to get the city’s financial house in order.”

‘Judge won’t allow statement of ex-Ephrata lawyer charged with planning to kill lawmakers as evidence’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “as lawyers prepare for the trial of a former Ephrata lawyer charged with planning to drive to Washington, D.C., to kill Democratic U.S. senators, his answers to an FBI agent’s questions won’t be allowed as evidence.”

‘COVID-19 trending in ‘right direction’ in Pa., health secretary says’: PennLive reports that “new COVID-19 infections have been averaging fewer than 5,550 per day in Pennsylvania, down from days of well over 25,000 a few weeks ago. The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has fallen by 26% since the end of January, the state health department said Tuesday in a weekly update.”

Camera Bartolotta: Let’s escape budgetary Groundhog Day by restricting wasteful spending
Scott Bohn: Cannabis legalization: Will Pa. lawmakers barter away our public health and safety?
John L. Micek: In a legacy-cementing final budget address, Wolf looks forward by looking back 
Jeffrey Riedy: Cannabis Legalization: Pa. should lead, not follow
Paul Muschick: It’s disgraceful that Pennsylvania went to such great lengths to hide Allentown NIZ tax data
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Transparency for education tax breaks
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: School bus shortage is no excuse for Hempfield schoolchildren left stranded in below-freezing temperatures
Tim Mulligan: Schools must celebrate success, welcome diversity and engage families
David A. Hoffman, Jordan Konell, and Luke McCartney: A rental lease template could help prevent some of Philly’s landlord-tenant disputes before they begin 
Val Finnell: ‘Ghost guns’ aren’t to blame for Philadelphia’s crime crisis 
Tracey L. Rogers: Don’t ban teaching Black history
Alexa Klepper: The World Cup and other mega-events contribute to the earth’s environmental degradation
Sheryl Burt Ruzek: No, we’re not ‘done’ with COVID-19 yet 
Will Bunch Newsletter: CNN stars clueless about how Jeff Zucker wrecked U.S.

2 Responses

  1. GOP will have trouble in all races in 2022 because they follow a crime family boss with a HUGE orange ego.

  2. R’s will have a tough time with Gov race because Trump hovers over the Gov race crimping the style of candidates like Sen Corman. Trump will send victory to Dems in November Gov race with Shapiro winning by 5 percent. Corman gets no traction in Montgomery and Bucks due to Trump.

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

    Total Voters: 231

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