The Pennsylvania General Assembly assembled once again on New Year’s Day to officially swear in the class of 2019/2020. There was very little actual swearing, unlike what was happening down in D.C. Spirits were high in Harrisburg, and there was plenty of pomp and circumstance, which will soon be replaced by dread, anger and a general feeling of hopelessness.
The new U.S Congress convened on Thursday for the first time, and Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as speaker of the House, providing Republicans with their dream electoral villain for 2020. The only way Thursday could have gone better for GOP campaign operatives is if Hillary Clinton somehow became speaker.
While conservatives and progressives took turns bashing each other on swearing-in day, we invite everyone to pause and check out this photo of three combat veterans being sworn in under the caption “5 eyes, 5 arms, 4 legs. All American.” Perspective, people. These three guys fought for your right to be a jackwagon on Twitter.
Pelosi’s first act was to shepherd through the House a half-dozen spending bills (sans border wall money) that would re-open the government. President Trump quickly issued a veto threat, and off we go!
The big news of the week, however, was the opening of the 103rd Farm Show in Harrisburg, where tens of thousands of people will come and eat all manner of yumminess. As we often note in this space, the one thing you cannot do at the Farm Show is actually purchase a farm.
The aforementioned government shutdown is starting to seriously grate on the nerves of TSA agents, who are still screaming at people to remove their shoes and belts, but without pay. Yeah, this is the group of people we want to make even more crabby.
And if you don’t think that is bad enough, the IRS will not be able to process tax refunds if the stalemate persists, so don’t spend what you don’t have. It may be a long time before you have it.
Speaking of shutdowns, at least one member of the PA Congressional delegation is forgoing his paycheck until the stalemate ends. From his humble Ogontz Avenue roots, our good friend Congressman Dwight Evans has always walked the walk.
The U.S. economy, buffeted about recently by a shaky stock market, rebounded with a roar this morningas the U.S. Labor Department announced that 312,000 new jobs were created last month. This is a pretty strong signal that the economy will grow for a record tenth straight year.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is getting ready to do his oath of office thing and is laying out a pretty aggressive second-term agenda that includes tax reform, reforming school funding, gun safety and the old standby – a tax on shale drillers. Early odds on the agenda are, in order, “probably not,” “maybe,” “define ‘gun safety’” and “who the hell knows.”
In a late Christmas gift to Wolf’s budgeteers, the Supreme Court has ruled that so-called “stripper wells” (get your heads out of the gutter, people) should have been subject to the state’s impact fee and will have to cough up millions in unpaid fees. Should help to fatten up the old exchequer.
There was a bit of bad news out of Philly this week, as ShopRite store owner Jeff Brown was forced to announce his first store closure, a result of the city’s soda tax. Brown’s store had experienced a 24 percent drop in revenues since the tax went into effect, but according to the mayor’s office, that didn’t actually happen because a Harvard study said it didn’t actually happen.
Remember Ted Cruz? Yeah, he is apparently still in the U.S. Senate. This week, Cruz introduced a bill that would impose term limits on members of Congress, which may or may not be a good idea, but will eventually go nowhere because Ted Cruz introduced it.
In our Shameless Client Plug this week, we give a shout out to our good friends at ES&S for being chosen by the Delaware County Board of Elections to provide new voting machines that will comply with Governor’s Wolf’s paper backup mandate. Great work team!
With a mixture of sadness and pride, we announce that our colleague, friend and Triad Senior Associate Lauren Gutshall has accepted a new position with another valued client, The College Board. We wish Lauren all the best, and an endless supply of good wine! Godspeed, LG!
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to lovely Des Moines, Iowa, where a man was arrested this week for assaulting a convenience store clerk with a banana. This is the second time in history that a banana has been used in the commission of a felony, the first being Detective Axel Foley disabling a police cruiser with one in Beverly Hills Cop.
That’s what passes for news around here as we slide into 2019! Be sure to check back next week when we share a whole lot of news that you may not have read and most certainly cared less about! From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!