Jan Murphy | Monday, March 4, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
The ripple effects of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum public school teacher salary by 143 percent to $45,000 a year could be what costs it the support of some House Republicans.
At Monday’s House budget hearing with state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, GOP members voiced several concerns about the impact it could have on such things as teacher contracts, salaries of more experienced teachers, and school property tax rates.
Jan Murphy | Wednesday, February 27, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
Gov. Tom Wolf wants to break new ground with a new incentive program to entice members of the Pennsylvania National Guard to re-enlist for six years by offering them a tuition assistance plan for their spouses or children.
The Pennsylvania National Guard Military Family Education Program, or Pennsylvania GI Bill of Rights as Wolf refers to it, would provide up to 10 semesters of tuition-free education for the service member’s spouse or family to attend most of Pennsylvania’s higher education institutions.
Jacob Tierney | Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
If you dread answering your phone because of the onslaught of robotic spammers and scammers, you’re not alone. And it could get worse very soon.
An analysis of U.S. Federal Trade Commission statistics by AllAreaCodes.com found unwanted calls tend to spike in March and April, as scammers impersonating the IRS attempt to bilk money out of taxpayers.
In 2018, Pennsylvanians filed almost 240,000 complaints with the FTC for telemarketers and scammers calling people on the Do Not Call Registry.
Marc Levy | Monday, February 25, 2019, The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A top Republican lawmaker is opening the door to raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, but he’s also insisting that Democrats lower their sights.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said Monday that Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest proposal isn’t reasonable and not worth discussing.
Corman wouldn’t define what he views as a reasonable increase. But he suggests there’s enough Senate Republican support for a more modest increase to bring a bill to the floor.
David Fillman | Thursday, February 21, 2019, The Morning Call
As lawmakers begin to debate Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal, I would urge them to consider the headlines from some of our neighboring states regarding one of the governor’s top priorities — raising our state’s shameful $7.25 an hour minimum wage:
$15 minimum wage is now coming to New Jersey
Jeff Himler | Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
A little under 6 percent of Pennsylvania taxpayers are spot-on when it comes to figuring their federal income tax. That is, when they file their returns with the IRS, they’re neither due a refund nor required to submit a payment.
That’s not a very big percentage, but it’s enough to place Pennsylvania among the top third of states when ranked according to the accuracy of its taxpayers — in a study released this month by SmartAsset, a company that provides online advice on personal finances.
Jan Murphy | Tuesday, February 19, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
More than 9,000 people in Pennsylvania state government earned $100,000 or more in 2018, according to PennLive.
There are now 9,071 state workers in the $100,000 club, an increase of 781 from last year. It’s the highest number since PennLive and The Patriot-News first began tracking the six-figure earners in state government in 1997.
Mark Belko | Monday, February 18, 2019, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Six new specialty stores -— selling everything from candies to socks — are touching down at Pittsburgh International Airport over the next month or so.
Fraport Pittsburgh, operator of the airport’s Airmall, announced the additions to the boarding terminal Monday.
Stephen Huba | Thursday, February 14, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
It may not be the Green New Deal, but a new report by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection tries to nudge the state toward greater use of electric vehicles.
The Pennsylvania Electric Vehicle Roadmap, developed over two years by the Drive Electric Pennsylvania Coalition, attempts to lay out strategies for overcoming barriers to electric vehicle use by motorists and municipalities.
Megan Tomasic | Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Hempfield could pay almost $7 million for state police coverage under Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal — yet another attempt to collect from municipalities that rely on troopers rather than their own police department.
Hempfield is one of nearly 2,500 municipalities across Pennsylvania without a local police department.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019, The Associated Press
HARRISBURG — Leaders of Pennsylvania’s state-owned university system are promising a transformation amid declining enrollments, rising costs and lackluster state support.
Tuesday’s hearing before the House Appropriations Committee comes after enrollment at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education fell below 100,000 for the first time since 2001.
Charles Thompson | Monday, February 11, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
Pennsylvania has come a long way in the last 15 years.
With bipartisan support, policy-makers have legalized casino gambling; pushed beer and wine into grocery stores; allowed the sales of certain forms of marijuana for medicinal use, and given the green light for sports betting.
Jan Murphy | Friday, February 8, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
A state lawmaker wants to make gamers pay more to feed their appetite for video games that involve blood, gore, death and destruction.
Under the legislation offered by Rep. Christopher Quinn, R-Delaware County, the cost of video games rated as suitable for mature or adult audiences sold in Pennsylvania would be subject to a new 10 percent tax. The revenue raised from this tax on “M” or “AO” rated video games would go toward supporting school safety measures.
Michael Rubinkham | Thursday, February 7, 2019, The Associated Press
Pittsburgh’s beleaguered water authority will spend $50 million to replace lead service lines, give filters to low-income residents and take other steps to address the city’s lead crisis under a settlement approved Thursday by state utility regulators.
It comes a week after the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office filed criminal charges against the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, alleging it mishandled a lead pipe replacement program in 2016 and 2017 and put more than 150 households at elevated risk of lead poisoning. The authority, which had previously admitted civil liability in the case and was fined $2.4 million by state environmental regulators, is fighting the charges.
Steve Twedt | Wednesday, February 6, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, is seeking co-sponsors on legislation which “would require UPMC and Highmark to either contract with each other for services or enter mandatory arbitration,” according to a release circulated Wednesday.
While not even in bill form yet, the move is another sign of growing interest from Harrisburg as the Pittsburgh region moves into the final months of a five-year agreement that has allowed some Highmark Medicare Advantage members and others continued in-network access to UPMC hospitals.
Charles Thompson | Tuesday, February 5,2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
You know your governor has gone all-in on political pragmatism when one of the talking points in his budget proposal is insisting that children attend first grade.
Look it up. Gov. Tom Wolf called Tuesday for lowering the age of compulsory school attendance in Pennsylvania to six.
Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis | Monday, February 4, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HARRISBURG — When Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address Tuesday, he is expected to call for more money for public schools, a higher minimum wage for Pennsylvania workers, and a new tax on natural gas drillers.
In doing so, the Democratic governor who is now unfettered by re-election concerns — and has been openly showcasing his progressive roots — will have to persuade a more conservative, Republican-controlled Legislature to buy into his plan.
Charles Thompson | Friday, February 1, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News
When Karyn Kelly bought her lunch one day this week at a Rutter’s store in northern York County, it never occurred to her she was shopping at a truck stop.
“I think of this as a convenience store,” said Kelly, a 66-year-old from the Dillsburg area. Kelly said she hits the business three or four times a week because it is convenient to her place of work, the nearby Capital City Airport in Fairview Township.
Liz Navratil | Thursday, January 31, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced plans to once again seek a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, promising to use the money for disaster recovery, infrastructure and the expansion of broadband internet, among other projects.
The Democratic governor plans to approach state lawmakers with a proposal to borrow $4.5 billion over four years by selling bonds. The money would be paid back over 20 years using revenue from a severance tax, which would vary depending on the price of gas and the amount of it extracted.
Wednesday, January 20, 2019, The Associated Press
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf is rolling out a second-term proposal to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage after similar first-term proposals by the Democrat fell flat in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Wolf said Wednesday he wants to raise Pennsylvania’s hourly minimum to $12 this year, making it one of the highest in the nation, with annual 50-cent increases to bring it to $15 an hour in 2025. He says it would boost pay for a million workers and provide savings in programs for the poor.