Pa. State Budget Proposal Highlights
Persuasion in a Low Trust World

Friday Happy Hour: Tennessee Weed Edition

Not legal in Tennessee

Last week was quite a long year in Pennsylvania and national politics, so let’s jump right in with the biggest story, the formal Senate acquittal of President Trump. In his usual understated and calm style, the president thanked the Senate for doing its constitutional duty and quietly went about his business, never once mentioning Mitt Romney’s name.   

The POTUS also gave his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, which was basically he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doing their best “I know you are but what am I? fifth-graders in the schoolyard impersonation.    

The president did, however, take a whack at our own Governor Wolf for vetoing a school choice bill last year. This should give you all some idea of how important Pennsylvania will be in this year’s presidential election. For his part, Wolf sort of shrugged it off, ate a hot dog and went about his business.  

The U.S. economy seems pretty oblivious to the petty politics of our time, as the January job creation numbers came in at more than 225,000, marking the 112th straight month of positive job growthAt some point, aren’t we just gonna run out of humans to take those jobs, or no?   

Governor Wolf this week unveiled his 2021-2022 spending plan to the eager ears of the General Assembly and, as usual, public schools were the big winner. Wolf is looking to pour an addition $114 million into K-12 education.  

If you’d like a handy-dandy rundown of the budget highlights, head over to the Triadvocate, where our staff did all the work for you.   

One of the more interesting plans unveiled by the governor is his proposed creation of a new $200 million college scholarship fund aimed at poor kids attending state system schools. The loot for this endeavor will come from the state’s horse racing development fund, because after 14 years of cash rolling into that fund, if horse racing isn’t “developed” yet, maybe it ain’t ever gonna develop.    

It took all of 30 minutes for the horse racing industry to write its own obituary, saying that the Wolf plan will kill 20,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in tax revenue, two numbers that are gonna get a helluva lot of scrutiny over the next few months. If the horse racing industry wants to Win, it is gonna have to Place that data in front of lawmakers and Show the impact. See what we did there?   

Governor Wolf wrapped up his budget address with a personal and impassioned plea for the General Assembly to take up several bills designed to crack down on gun violenceOnce again, he will attempt to push that rather large rock up a very steep hill 

Speaking of Sisyphean tasks, the General Assembly has once again stalled out in the annual game of We Can Eliminate Your Property Taxes. Wake us when something interesting happens.  

Pennsylvania health officials are reminding folks that the regular, garden-variety flu is a much more imminent threat to your well-being than the coronavirus, which incidentally sounds like it should come with a lime wedge. Suffice it to say that you don’t want either of them, so go get a flu shot.    

Punxsutawney Phil was hoisted out of his luxury hole last weekend to let us all know that spring will come early this year. As we write this, it is snowing sideways outside our windowsGood job, varmint.   

A state rulemaking body has given the greenlight to a new regulation that will dramatically expand the number of Pennsylvania workers who qualify for overtime pay. The move was the predictable result of the General Assembly failing to pass minimum wage legislation. There was a quid there, but it never met the pro quo.    

If the Pennsylvania Senate has its way (and it often does), the 2024 Pennsylvania primary will be held on Super TuesdayBut before that ever happens, let take you to the current race where…  

This just in:  Iowa is never again allowed to have nice things.    

After three days of weirdness and someone apparently unplugging Iowa and plugging it back in, South Bend Mayor and first-time candidate Pete Buttigieg shocked the world by finishing in a tie with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a man who has run for president 16 times already.     

If you haven’t yet had the chance, head on over to the Triadvocate and introduce yourself to our newest public affairs whiz, Jennifer Riley! Welcome, Jen!  

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Tennessee, where a man standing trial for misdemeanor drug possession thought it was a good idea to approach the bench and light up a joint in front of the judge. People are gonna write songs about this dude’s giant set of guts.     

That’s what passes for news around here as the howling wind blows us all into the weekend! From all your friends at Team Triad, enjoy the weekend and we will see you next week!  

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