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October 2012

Friday Happy Hour: Pay the Piper Edition


Well kids, it’s Halloween season, and boy, do we have some scary stories for you. Let’s begin with a very eerie development from Harrisburg, where (imagine creepy sounds here) Harrisburg CityCouncil members actually agreed to do something they were asked to do!

The Council went along with the mayor and receiver William Lynch and (cue scary music) agreed to double the earned income tax in order to head off the layoff of police, fire fighters and other city employees. Not everyone was happy about this. Two Council members opposed the tax increase, and one of them offered this ominous comment: “The piper will be coming home soon.” Oh, my God, not the piper! PLEASE, ANYBODY BUT THE PIPER!

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Friday Happy Hour: Mailing-It-In Edition


He was the longest-serving U.S. senator in Pennsylvania history, but Arlen Specter didn’t let himself be overly impressed by that. Instead, he regaled audiences with a tale about how if he were to win reelection in 2010, and again in 2016, repeat in 2022 and once more in 2028. “At that point I’ll be younger than Strom Thurmond was when he was still serving in the United States Senate,” the late Senator drily observed.

His 2010 reelection was not to be. Specter died last weekend at age 82 after a repeat bout with cancer.  At his memorial service, he was lauded for what is an increasingly rare gift for crafting public policy through bipartisanship, collaboration and consensus.

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Friday Happy Hour: Sailing to Philly Edition

It has been fairly well established that Pennsylvania is a business-friendly state, if your business happens to be natural gas. But if your business happens to be beer? Not so much, according to Dick Yuengling Jr. The owner and president of Pottsville-based D.G Yuengling & Sons says the company is almost certain to build another brewery soon, but isn’t likely to do so in Pennsylvania. He said other states offer better incentives and fairer taxation. Yuengling’s 17 percent growth rate of late has made it the top American-owned beermeister, surpassing Boston Beer Co. and its Samuel Adams brand.

Back to gas for a moment – the U.S. Geological Survey said it appears there are enormous reserves of oil and natural gas under the Utica Shale, which is under the Marcellus Shale. The geological survey’s Utica estimate covered parts of Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. If only beer could be used as a fracking agent…

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2 Industries 1 Fight

2 Industries 1 Fight

By: John Pippy
CEO, PA Coal Alliance

While attending the Keystone International Livestock Exposition this past weekend in Harrisburg, I had the opportunity to talk to members of the agricultural industry from across the country.  What was ironic was this industry appears to battling the same agency as the coal industry in Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency.  

The regulations that the EPA has placed on the agricultural industry can be seen directly by higher consumer prices at the grocery store, just as the regulations that are placed on the coal industry will be reflected in future electricity prices.

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Friday Happy Hour: Egg Sandwich Edition

Well folks, the General Assembly is back in town. You’d think the lobbyists would be happy to have their meal tickets back on the table. Instead, all we’ve heard is grumbling about the apparently record number of campaign fundraisers being held at area watering holes. Oh well, at least it’s a good thing for our restaurateurs and caterers.  Yeah, jobs and economic growth!

People like to say that a good compromise is when both sides leave the table unhappy. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson succeeded in meeting that standard this week with his ruling delaying the implementation of the state’s new Voter ID law until the next General Election (after the one coming up on Nov. 6). Neither side was immediately willing to say whether they would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court or not. Like many others who have been following the voter ID issue, we initially thought the State Supreme Court had punted when it voted to send the Commonwealth Court opinion upholding the new law back for further consideration. Why on earth would the lower court judge change his mind, we wondered.

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