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December 2017

Weekly Wrap Up- Christmas Rage Edition

Welcome to the final weekly wrap-up of 2017 on this night before the night before the night before Christmas. Rage_room_photo_1_1

The Largest Tax Cut in the History of the Civilized World has now landed in the eager hands of President Trump after the House and Senate did their voting thing this week. After an 11-month wait, Trump now has the signature legislative victory that he craved as he heads into Year Two.

Trump’s team said the President will not actually sign the bill into law until January 3rd, preventing automatic spending cuts from kicking in this year.  It is probably also in his best interest not to sign a large corporate tax cut bill from his luxury resort in Florida.  You know, optics and such. 

Philadelphia’s own Comcast responded to the bill’s passage by announcing it will give every one of its 100,000 employees a $1,000 bonus this year.  Merry Christmas, indeed!  The move is also a Christmas gift to GOP lawmakers, many of whom said the tax cut will help corporations reinvest in their workers.  

Congress then turned its collective attention to keeping the government open, which has somehow turned into an Herculean task for the majority party.  A bill to fund the government through mid-January passed just in the nick of time, and with it came a temporary authorization of CHIP funding, through March.  Again: tax cuts permanent, federal budget and CHIP, temporary.  Optics, people.  

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro this week announced he will sue to stop the FCC’s recent rule that repealed Net Neutrality.  The AG’s legal team has been awfully busy this year!  

The horrific crash of an Amtrak train in Washington State has ultimately led to a discussion on funding for the nation’s sagging infrastructure.  We wanna throw this Triad Poll Question out there.  Congress just added about $1.5 trillion to the national debt.  Will this fact make it a. easier to do a massive, expensive rebuild of our national assets or b. a wee bit harder to do a massive, expensive rebuild of our national assets?  Go ahead and vote, we’ll wait. 

If you were looking for a list of all the policy achievements that our state government put under its belt for 2017, has a nice rundown for you.  Spoiler Alert: online gaming legalization is right near the top (Shameless Client Plug for the Stars Group!)

Making good on his promise to veto the controversial abortion ban bill passed last week by the General Assembly, Governor Wolf appeared in suburban Philadelphia to do just that.  We are sure there was no reason at all that he chose a location in the politically-important, politically-moderate southeast area of our fine Commonwealth.  For the last time: optics, people.  

Speaking of politically important news, President Trump announced this week that he will be doing a lot of campaigning during the 2018 midterm elections, including lots of planned events here in Pennsylvania.  This is always part blessing and part curse for members of the President’s party during midterms.  See: Obama, 2010

The campaign for Pennsylvania Governor in 2018 will be the most important race in the nation, according to at least one pundit. This would suggest that candidates on both sides will see inordinate amounts of out-of-state dough rolling into the Commonwealth, coming to a few 30-second ads near you.  Be prepared.

If you would like to get a handle on the four people jockeying for the right to take on Governor Wolf next November, check them out here.  We are sure you’ll be hearing from all of them shortly. 

You want to build your own casino?  Here is a handy-dandy primer for you.  This week, the state’s Gaming Control Board released regulations that will govern the up to 10 mini-casinos authorized by law last October.  You can use your tax cut to help fund the project.   

We’re number 5!  While that phrase is never on anyone’s tongue during the College Football Playoff Selection Show, it was on our tongues this week as Pennsylvania once again jumped past Illinois to become the nation’s fifth-largest state. Maybe we will only lose one Congressional seat in 2020!   Take that, Chicago! 

Our own Kirstin Snow this week appeared in Pennlive to give us her thoughts about women across the country breaking their silence on sexual assault.  You should check it out here.   

In light of that piece, we thought it might be a good time to share with you this piece by FAILING FAKE NEWS CNN about seven women you are going to hear a lot from in 2018.   

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Merry Olde England, where people just aren’t very merry these days, it would seem.  London is now home to a Christmas Rage Room, where for the equivalent of twenty-four American bucks, you can dress in a red suit, grab a baseball bat, and smash all manner of Christmas decoration to absolute smithereens. There is zero chill going on in London these days.

That’s what passes for news around here as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, Happy Honda Days or a Merry Toyota-thon, depending on your preference.  No matter what you choose, we hope you have an amazing Lexus December to Remember!  From all of us at Triad, have a safe, wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

Friday Happy Hour: Nativity Cow Edition

The nation’s eyes were fixed squarely on Alabama this week as Democrat Doug Jones shocked the political world by dumping Republican Roy Moore in a U.S. Senate special election.  F-cowwander-a-20171216 The fact that Jones was able to win a seat (albeit against a pretty flawed candidate, to be kind) in a state that President Trump carried by 28 points just a year ago gives a ray of hope to Democrats everywhere.  They got a name for the winners in the world…I want a name when I lose…  

Speaking of which, the next high profile special election will be for a Congressional seat in the Pittsburgh suburbs next year.  Welcome to the 18th, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. 

Meanwhile, the long-awaited tax cut/reform bill is limping toward the finish line in Washington, as GOP Congressional leaders this week announced they had struck a deal on language that no one has seen yet.  Enter Marco Rubio, who signaled he will be a NO vote if changes are not made.  Will December be the premier of The Revenge of Little Marco?  

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Friday Happy Hour: Vodka Road Edition

The U.S. economy added a robust 228,000 jobs in November we learned his morning (from the Fake News Washington Post, no less) but you likely won’t hear much about it because 31dover-titos-vodkathe White House has not learned something we call “message discipline.”  When you get great economic news, maybe don’t start out the day by tweeting about Roy Moore. 

As the World’s Largest Tax Cut in History bill moves toward final passage in D.C., our own U.S. Senator Pat Toomey has his hands firmly on the wheel, we found out this week.  We will see if he can get this little bugger safely into the garage by Christmas morning.

One group of people who are probably hoping Toomey gets a flat tire are the nation’s coal miners, who have found that some of the proposed tax changes could wipe out coal company profitability.  That War on Coal we heard so much about is obviously a multi-front conflict.  We cannot imagine the guy who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be too thrilled with this news. 

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Friday Happy Hour: Yeti Edition

As you read today’s memo, it is entirely likely that the U.S. Senate will be debating and/or passing one of the largest tax cuts in the country’s history.  Our own Senator Pat Toomey has Yetiemerged as the leader of the effort, juggling votes and herding Members on the Senate floor like P.T. Barnum. As a side note, if you actually thought a GOP-controlled Senate would fail to pass a tax cut bill, you haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the last 200 years of American politics. 

Meanwhile, down the street, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn this morning pled guilty to lying to the F.B.I., which is always a problem.  They hate that kind of stuff.  No word on what’s next for “Lock her up!” Flynn, but life comes at you awfully fast sometimes. 

All of the drama in Washington D.C. is happening this week against the backdrop of yet another missile launch by North Korea, this time showing the world that it can now hit the United States’ mainland.  We were told at a very young age to never fear a man with a thousand nuclear weapons; fear the madman who has one.

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