As the new Pennsylvania fiscal year dawned this morning, the budget to accompany it was headed toward Governor Wolf’s desk after the House concurred, by a 144-54 vote, with the Senate’s $31.6 billion spending plan. The bipartisan plan boosts early childhood, K through 12 and higher education spending, along with more dough for combating opioid addiction, with no broad-based tax increases. The Guv said he will sign it just as soon as everyone figures out just one more itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny detail – exactly where the money will come from.
One place a big chunk of the revenue shortfall could come from is a House-approved measure that would expand casino-style gambling to the internet and airports. The bill would raise as little as $200 million or as much as $270 million, depending on who you talk to. Its prospects in the Senate or on the desk of Governor Wolf are not clear. Reports are that legislators also are looking for new sins to tax or increasing levies on old sins.
Where the money won’t be coming from is commercial development of state parks. The House rejected, 123-77, a proposal for a pilot program that would have allowed the development of a commercial golf course, amusement park, water slide park, hotel, and restaurant and bar on the grounds of a state park.
Despite complaints by some that it lets past perps off the hook, the Senate unanimously approved a bill toughening Pennsylvania’s child sex crimes law. Once it receives the ol’ gubernatorial blessing, it will extend or eliminate the statute of limitations in criminal and civil cases involving child sexual abuse. It will not, however, extend said statutes retroactively.
State lawmakers said a bill that would establish a regulatory framework for hailing rides through smart phone apps will gestate through the summer as the session days wind down before the recess.
In national news, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie are among potential vice presidential candidates being vetted by the same lawyer who vetted Sarah Palin last time around. Because that worked out so well.
That mean ol’ Washington Post jumped ugly, again, with Donald Trump this week, scouring public records to determine that while he pledged $8.5 million to various charities over a 15-year period, he followed through with less than a third of that, and other than the $1 million he recently coughed up for veterans, there is no record of him showing any charity any money since 2009.
And while we’re back on money again, it appears that Hillary Clinton will be spending part of that $41 million she has on hand for advertising in the Keystone State. The Clinton ads are to begin next week. No word yet on how Trump plans to allocate his $1.3 million war chest.
The latest batch of public opinion polls show Clinton moving ahead in Pennsylvania, other swing states and in general. Trump characterized the pollsters as (insert derogatory term here).
Former President and prospective First Man Bill Clinton seems to have stepped in a bit of poo on the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, where he “happened to run into” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch this week. Just sayin’ hello and not talking about Hillary’s possible indictments for misuse of classified information, he ‘splained.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 to strike down a Texas law that made it harder to obtain abortions. The court ruled that the restrictions placed an undue burden on those seeking abortions and did little to protect women’s health.
Our first Shameless Client Plug this week goes to the PA Highway Information Association, which is launching a series of regional events promoting the benefits of Act 89 of 2013, the transportation funding measure that eventually will generate an additional $2.3 billion. PHIA participated in a news conference featuring PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, who detailed the progress to date but said it is essential to solve the State Police funding issue without quite so darn much of the money that’s supposed to be used for fixing roads.
A follow-up Shameless Client Plug goes to Agile Networks, which was named by IT Infra World as one of the Top 10 Wireless Infrastructure Solution Providers 2016. W00tabulous!
If winning is the yardstick, Pat Summitt was certainly the most successful college basketball coach of all time. But as the tsunami of tributes poured in upon her passing this week, it became clear that she was much more than that. Credited with almost single-handedly elevating women’s basketball to the prominence and level of respect it enjoys today, she also was revered as a phenomenal life-lesson motivator. We’ll let WaPo columnist Sally Jenkins take it from here.
This week’s edition of We Can’t Make This Up takes us to the world of Major League Baseball, which today observes Bobby Bonilla Day. It commemorates the day each year that the New York Mets fatten Bonilla’s wallet by $1,193,248.20, as they have done since 2000 and will continue to do through 2035. Bonilla, now 53, has not graced a baseball diamond since 2001, but that hasn’t prevented him from knowing exactly where his dinero is coming from.
So that wraps it up for this week! Happy Birthday, America! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, and we’ll be back with more next week, same time, same place.
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