It was a busy week as Republicans across this great land prepare to descend on Cleveland for their coronation of Donald Trump. In true Trump style, expect this convention to be just a wee bit different than those of years past, with stuffy political speeches being shoved aside in favor of more glitz and glamour.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers continue to crater, as a new swing state poll this week showed Trump either tied or marginally ahead in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. The only saving grace for Camp Clinton is that her rival’s numbers haven’t moved in eons. Now it becomes a question of where Clinton’s floor actually is.
Of course, a round of polls released a few minutes after the aforementioned swing state poll came out shows Clinton with a pretty healthy lead nationwide. The moral of the story here is that polling data right now means very little in the grand scheme of things. Just ask President Romney.
There was good news in Hillaryland this week as her Democratic Socialist rival Bernie Sanders finally endorsed her. Some of Bernie’s supporters, however, said they will not come along for the ride and intend to vote for Green Party Candidate Jill Nader. Or Stein. That maniacal cackling sound you hear is from Donald Trump’s campaign manager.
But none of this really matters in the Grand Scheme because we have ourselves a state budget, ladies and gentlemen! Yes, Pennsylvania is now the proud owner of a real, honest-to-goodness-almost-balanced spending plan for 2016-2017. The House and Senate this week pulled themselves back from the abyss and passed the final pieces of the package, and Governor Wolf quickly affixed his signature.
How did we get here, you ask? Well, allow us to illuminate it for you. First, after they finished playing Pokemon Go, the General Assembly agreed to tax the beejesus out of cigarettes and all other tobacco products (oh, except cigars, you silly goose.) And they also levied a tax on digital downloads, bank shares and some other sundry items. Borrow from here, trim from there and voila. Done and done and we will see you all in September. That sigh of relief you just heard was from Triad’s governmental relations team.
The whole deal came together just in the nick of time for our friends at Standard and Poor’s, who earlier in the week issued a pretty stern warning to Pennsylvania policy makers: get your crap together or we are gonna punch you right in the credit rating.
The entire budget plan almost came screaming off the rails at the final moment when charter school reform was included as the price of poker by some factions of the General Assembly. When coming to an agreement on any charter bill proved tougher than building a breeder reactor out of Lego’s, cooler heads prevailed and charters were shuffled off to the fall, along with pension reform, gaming expansion, a special session on opioid addiction, ride sharing legalization…you get the idea. Gonna be a really busy nine session days this fall.
One of the big winners in this budget cycle (outside of $250 million in education spending) was the fight against opioid addiction, as Governor Wolf announced he had secured enough funding to open twenty new treatment centers across the state. This announcement will be a nice kickoff to the special session, details of which are still unclear at this time.
Tucked in an obscure budget trailer bill was also language that legalized, albeit temporarily, ride sharing in Philadelphia. So rejoice, Lyft and Uber aficionados in Philly; your ride to and from the Democratic National Convention is secure.
Harrisburg was also a winner in the final days of the budget saga, as the General Assembly lifted the state’s prohibition on the Capital City applying for a Community Revitalization and Improvement Zone designation. Mayor Eric Papenfuse and his team are now, presumably, free to identify 130 acres within the city and apply for the designation, which could help spur investment and redevelopment.
When the General Assembly passed and Governor Wolf signed the liquor modernization law last month, many of you probably thought there would be bottles of wine appearing at your local grocery store in short order. Well, Sally, “short order “apparently means “later this fall” as the PLCB was not exactly prepared for the passage of said law. Somebody probably should have given them a heads up.
Speaking of wine, an enterprising woman this week announced the creation of a new app called “Chardonnay Go” where people can run around town looking for glasses of vino instead of Pokemons. For the record, we did not partake in the Pokemon Go craze, largely because we aren’t ten years old. And no, there are no stray Pokemons on the Triad conference room, so please get out.
A story of four Pittsburgh area police officers buying dinner for a couple who refused to sit next to them at an Eat ‘N Park has gone viral. The takeaways from this story are 1. Police officers are indeed human and want to be part of their communities and 2. Some people in Pittsburgh are, sadly, still jagoffs.
In Shameless Client Plug news this week, we give you our friends at the District Council 21 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, who are busy installing nine thousand panes of glass in the new Comcast Tower in Philadelphia. Think your job is tough? Watch this video.
Also this week, our friends at the Philadelphia Tribune recently held a panel discussion on the state of black labor in the city. Check out their coverage here.
Triad’s podcast series also continued this week with our latest piece entitled “what is strategic communications?” Give it a listen while you melt into the sidewalk today.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we will simply refer you to paragraph five of this memo: we have a state budget, and its only July!
That’s what passes for news around here at Triad World Headquarters! We will do our best to find you some news next week, but it ain’t gonna be easy after this week! From all your friends at Triad, have a great 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