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April 2010

2nd Verse, Same as the 1st?

Hit-the-rewind-button-and-listen-again 

As April winds to a close, there are more than a few lawmakers nervously anticipating Governor Ed Rendell’s announcement on what the April revenue collections look like.  Hopes are not high that collections have rebounded, and in fact, the whispers under the dome point to the new numbers running four to even five hundred million dollars behind official estimates.

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Changing of the Guard: Earth Day Edition

Earth_day_2010_flyer-p2447301798131034752mcvz_400 

This Thursday is Earth Day, the 40th such annual celebration held in honor of the third rock from the Sun.  Events promoting environmental protection will be held in Pennsylvania and around the world this week, so we thought it might be a good time to do another installment of our Changing of the Guard series and take a look at environmental policy in Pennsylvania.  What we are finding is that major new changes are becoming much more regulatory – and much less legislative – in nature.

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Natural Gas Drilling Fears Unfounded

Completion_rig 

A guest blog by Rolf Hanson, Executive Director
Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania

The unknown can be a powerful source of fear.  Knowledge and awareness are key factors, researchers say, in building comfort and confidence.  For instance, most people say they would be comfortable walking around their immediate neighborhood after dark but would be wary walking in a strange – particularly urban – neighborhood after dark.

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DEP's New Water Quality Standards: A Summary

Broken_water_pipe_g5um 

If you know that TDS is the acronym for “total dissolved solids” in water, you will likely need or want to read on.  If you work in an industry that discharges water into the creeks, streams or rivers of the Commonwealth, you should read further:

On April 14, the Water Resources Advisory Committee will convene in the Rachel Carson Building at 9:30 to discuss the long-awaited and sometimes-controversial Total Dissolved Solids Final Rulemaking. We have an advanced copy of the rule package and a summary available here, so make sure you check it out for yourself in advance of the meeting.

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Changing of the Guard: Economic Development in PA

Open-for-business 

A Brief History of PA Economic Development Efforts

Last week, the Pennsylvania State House passed a bill establishing the Industry Partnerships Program, an initiative that first surfaced in Governor Ed Rendell’s 2005 Job Ready platform.   Its content is not important for our discussion today.  What is important is that once again, policy makers are getting ready to tackle the issue of job creation and economic development in the Commonwealth.

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Changing of the Guard: Future of Procurement

Procurement_handsweb

Procurement in Pennsylvania: The Outlook

There will be many factors that will influence the future of procurement in Pennsylvania. On Monday, we laid out some of the history behind the way the Commonwealth does business with vendors. Here is a short run-down of what we envision when the guard changes in November.

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Education Funding Beyond Partisanship

Chalkboard 

A guest post by Gabe Morgan, 32BJ SEIU Western Pennsylvania Director and SEIU PA State Council President

With the future of our children and our state in the hands of our public education system, few would argue against the need for a strong curriculum with good teachers and staff to keep our schools running.  Yet, in the absence of adequate funding from the state, local communities have been forced to absorb near annual property tax increases to keep up with the costs of providing a good education.

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