The entire team at Triad Strategies sends our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the police officers who were killed in Dallas last night. Our prayers are with the City of Dallas and law enforcement personnel everywhere.
It was a pretty rocky week for Hillary Clinton, even though it is now clear she will not be prosecuted for her e-mail transgressions. The blistering takedown administered to Clinton by FBI director James Comey probably almost – almost – made her prefer the indictment.
If you happen to be a Trump devotee, our friends at Real Clear Politics have an in-depth look at the 10 Pennsylvania counties that will make or break the Donald’s chances of turning Pennsylvania red for the first time since the other Clinton was around.
Optimism abounded last week when lawmakers and Governor Wolf announced they had reached a budget agreement. The new budget landed on Wolf’s desk about nine months ahead of last year’s pace, and there was reason to believe a revenue package to match would be right behind it. Not so fast, Mr. Fast Guy. The $31.5 billion spending plan is now stuck in a state of suspended animation while leaders quibble over how to raise roughly $1.5 billion in additional revenue needed to make column A match column B.
The waiting game is starting to take its toll on school officials across the state, as one might imagine. They have heard this song before, and the last time it played the D.J. kept in on a continual loop for nine months.
One of the possible revenue enhancers being discussed under the big dome is the removal of sales tax exempt status on cigars. For as long as lawmakers have been boosting the tax on cigarettes, cigars have escaped the knife. As every nickel and dime is magnified in these final hours, the tax-free stogie may be on the road to extinction.
Another revenue generator, a tax on natural gas at the consumer level has fallen off the table, it would appear. Despite little noise from the gas industry and the support of some in the GOP, the tax is a non-starter in the GOP-controlled House, so scratch that one from the list. For now. By tomorrow, who knows? It is getting weird up there.
The House GOP countered with a plan to “borrow” $200 million from the State Workers Insurance Fund, which the governor quickly dumped into the circular file. We know how “loans” work around here. Labor and Industry department officials must have been quite shocked to learn how solvent their already-insolvent SWIF fund was.
Slot machine revenue ticked up last year to $2.4 billion, we learned this week. The 2.3 per cent increase was welcomed news, as regulators were concerned that gambling expansion in neighboring states was beginning to dent the casino industry in PA. And the next time someone complains that slots are not producing any real revenue, ask them to add $2.4 billion to this year’s deficit and see what that looks like.
The issue of sanctuary cities (like Philadelphia, for instance) keeps bubbling to the surface in our own hotly-contested race for U.S. Senate. Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty were once again fighting like two cats in a burlap sack about the issue as the U.S. Senate this week tried to bring a ban on federal funding for such cities up for debate. Expect to hear about this issue until you want to jam a fork in your ears.
With a third of SEPTA’s trains offline and regional rail commuters growing increasingly frustrated, the Philadelphia Parking Authority is looking to ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber for solutions. Apparently, the PPA is ready to allow those companies to operate legally – albeit temporarily – in the city after fighting for years to kick them out. Oh sure, now you need them. We understand.
Triad’s very first podcast hit the airwaves this week, with our own Rick Kelly weighing in on why every company needs a strong crisis communications plan in place.
If you want to find places to spend lazy summer days in Pennsylvania, our friends at the American Camp Association have their July/August edition online for your viewing pleasure. The sun doesn’t rise and set on the Jersey Shore, people. Pennsylvania can be a pretty awesome place to vacation.
Our friends at SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania are cheering the introduction of a staffing transparency bill that would require hospitals to report how many professional staff members are on duty at their facilities. Sunshine remains the best disinfectant.
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we are going to politely take a pass. Based upon what happened in Dallas last night, not a whole lot seems funny this morning. We will try again next week, we promise.
That’s what passes for news around here on this blistering Friday as we all sit around and wait for the next shoe to drop. We will be back next week with all the answers, we can assure you. From all of us 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