Welcome to your pre-Thanksgiving, truncated, mid-week weekly update brought to you by the fine folks at WKRP in Cincinnati. We usually start the festivities with some news out of Washington D.C., but let’s face facts, some days you would just rather hear Les Nessman scream that turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement. As God is our witness, we thought turkeys could fly.
Back here in rain-soaked and snow-covered Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett hit the crumbling roadways to sign the newly minted transportation funding law. We could not be happier, as the Triadvocate staff can now stop doing a transportation update each and every week! Of course, not everyone was in a celebratory mood as the governor took his well-earned victory lap. Some of the General Assembly’s more outspoken opponents of the plan vowed to try and immediately repeal the measure. Oooooh, look Ma; we have our own version of Obamacare, complete with endless repeal attempts! Corbettstructure? Corbettbuild? Corbettrepair? C’mon, play along at home, let’s find a snazzy new name for this law!
As we mentioned last week, embedded in Corbettbuild is a provision that will raise the prevailing wage threshold for transportation construction projects, a plan which will most assuredly drive down wages for the people who will be doing the building. In completely unrelated and not at all ironic news, on the exact same day that new measure became law, all Pennsylvania elected officials got a cost of living increase (albeit a paltry quarter of a percent.) Moving right along…
Your Capitol City is a hair closer to wiping out $600 million in debt, thanks to the soon-to-be closed deals on leasing the parking facilities in the city and peddling its incinerator. And they did it all without going through bankruptcy court and scaring the life out of the financial markets. For those still whining about the city being forced to “give away an asset” as it leases the parking garages, we have news for you. We park in those garages each day. Calling them “assets” is a bit of a stretch.
On a related note, some council folks in Harrisburg are pushing the idea of mayoral term limits (note they are not discussing council term limits). We are not sure they remember, but Harrisburg residents have elected three different mayors in the last three elections. By all means, find yourself a solution to a problem that does not exist. Or maybe PAVE 2ND STREET INSTEAD!!!
Speaking of paving, the new transportation funding bill (sorry, we just can’t stop loving it) will mean that, among other projects, the Susquehanna Thruway will now get a $500 million injection and be back on track by 2015. This is great news for those on the upper end of Route 15.
And while we are on the topic of building stuff, we have a Shameless Client Plug comin’ at you! The Philadelphia Business Journal has named longtime Triad client, friend and confidant Ed Coryell, Sr., Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Business Manager of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 8, as one of the most influential business people in Philly. And we are not shocked, because Eddie isn’t just ON the list, friends; he IS the list.
But all was not hunky-dory is the land of building things this week. The state jobless rate took a slight dip to 7.5%, but job creation numbers continued to lag, keeping Pennsylvania mired in 45th place nationally.
Perhaps even more sobering was a new report out of Penn State showing that the past decade has not been a kind one to middle class Pennsylvanians, as job creation happened mainly in lower income sectors. The state lost an astounding 258,000 construction jobs in the past decade. And of course, the combination of the report and the aforementioned job numbers immediately spurred lawmakers into action, right? Right?
Yes, if by “action” you mean “drafting bills to further restrict abortion” and “drafting resolutions to impeach the Attorney General.” Those were two of the marquee stories this week, as some lawmakers now would like all doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals, all but guaranteeing less access to those services.
And a western Pennsylvania lawmaker has made good on his threat to try and impeach Attorney General Kathleen Kane for not defending the state’s Defense of Marriage Act in court. It should be noted that the chances of this happening are officially Slim and None, and Slim is already stuck in holiday traffic on the Turnpike. But hey, we are sure there is nothing that would raise the approval ratings of the General Assembly faster than going after a popular Attorney General.
On a lighter note, State College, PA has come in 3rd nationally on the list of best college towns. And before you think this is one of those “party school rankings”, it is a list that takes into account everything from faculty to diversity to cost of living and tuition rates. Way to go, Happy Valley!
And in the We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we bring you JT! Justin Timberlake’s backup dancers will now be unionized, thanks to an agreement the singer signed with the AFL-CIO. He brings sexy back; he brings solidarity back!
That’s it from Pine Street for the week! Triad’s offices will be closed tomorrow and Friday, but we will probably keep posting things on Facebook and Twitter, so sneak a peek between bites of stuffing and football games! And please remember that Saturday is now known as “Small Business Saturday”, so if you must shop, shop local!
From all your friends at Triad, have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend!
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh