President Donald J. Trump took the oath of office this morning and officially became the 45th President of the United States. Despite predictions of poison frogs falling from the sky, it went off pretty smoothly. And so, we set about the task to Make America Great Again (TM The Trump Organization.)
Sixty or so Congressional Democrats did not attend the Inaugural Ceremony, for an array of reasons, and much was made publicly about their absence. While we don’t see this as being a threat to our democracy, we would also remind folks that the new President seems to take slights much more – ahem – personally than many of his predecessors.
Also taking the oath of office this week were Pennsylvania’s three row officers; Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Treasurer Joe Torsella. Collectively, they will set about the task of Making Pennsylvania Great Again (TM Triad Strategies, LLC.) For his part, Shapiro laid down the law pretty quickly by telling the assembled well-wishers that he will stand up to anyone, including the aforementioned POTUS.
What will President Trump need to do to help our friends #MPGA? A cadre of experts weighed in this week on everything from taxes and regulations (fewer of them), education spending (more of it), energy production (way more of it) and healthcare reform (who the hell knows?) After winning the Keystone State by the slimmest of margins, it is a pretty solid bet that Trump knows that his road to re-election is the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Pennsylvania is in line to receive $20 million from Moody’s as part of a settlement over the financial services giant’s use of deceptive credit ratings. Take that, Moody’s. It is about time someone rained on your parade for a change.
If you are looking to become a licensed grower of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, you had better come strong or don’t come at all, we learned this week. As the application period nears, potential growers will be required to submit a nonrefundable $10,000 application fee; a $200,000 permit fee, which is refundable if the permit is not granted; and proof of $2 million in capital. That doesn’t even include what it will cost to actually build and run the operation. So, for everyone who thought they could get rich because they grew weed in their dorm room in 1978, move along. Nothing to see here.
Revenue from the state’s casino industry reached an all-time high in 2016, driven be a big increase in table game revenue. Now, if we could only figure out a way to get even more revenue by allowing people to play table games online. How novel would that be, huh? Paging the General Assembly…
Hey, they responded already! Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expecting swift action on gaming expansion this year, although we will provide a simple caveat: every member of the General Assembly has their own definition of what “swift action” actually means. So go grab a grain of salt.
If you were wondering why the Pennsylvania state budget is so chronically out of whack, Pennlive.com did a nice dive on the details this week. We can also give you the short version: expenditures don’t match revenues. See how easy that was? Problem solved; next problem!
Like swallow returning to Capistrano, the General Assembly will once again start the year by kicking the tires on a plan to eliminate school property taxes. One of these days, someone is finally gonna knock over that windmill, and when that happens, the state budget is going to be scrambled more thoroughly than your morning eggs. The state cannot agree on how to close a $600 million hole? Oh good, let’s add another $14 billion to at problem.
Pennsylvanians, especially the folks in the Wolf Administration, are watching the Congressional repeal of the Affordable Care Act with an eye towards what it might mean in the battle against opioid addiction. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have collaborated with Wolf to make great strides on that front, and by all accounts, the repeal of Obamacare may throw a very large wrench into those efforts. We all hope that cooler heads will prevail.
On that note, a new report was issued this week claiming that over 100,000 Pennsylvania jobs will be lost and $1.4 billion in revenue foregone with a total Obamacare repeal. So, we’d all better get to work on that whole “replace” idea, people.
Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to our pals at Lyft, whose President this week laid out an audacious plan for ride sharing companies to partner with government at all levels to eliminate traffic. Yes, please, let’s get busy with that idea.
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we take you to Oregon where a goat walked into a 7-Eleven convenience store and helped itself to some Skittles. The goat apparently missed all the incredibly tasty Hershey products. Too bad.
That’s what passes for news around here as we once again celebrate the peaceful transition of power. If the sky doesn’t fall, we plan to be back here next week to give you all the news that we find interesting. 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