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Pennsylvania in focus: How a union-created charter school benefits Local 98

By   /   July 10, 2017  /   News  /   No Comments

In its founding documents, Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter High School committed, in part, to providing students the skills needed for “participation in the apprenticeship program offered to qualified individuals by Local 98.”

Fifteen years on, it appears the school, founded by Dougherty, business manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the union, has fallen short.

The school, where 71 percent of its 620 students are African American, has no record of any graduates entering Local 98’s apprentice training program.

But the school has done better by Dougherty, becoming a job bank for family members and friends of the powerful Democrat known as “Johnny Doc” and providing members — and taxpayer-covered dues — for his union. Dougherty did not return calls seeking comment for this article.

Patriot News: Pennsylvania’s state budget talks continue, with an apparent break in gambling impasse

Elements of a hard-fought compromise package on expanded gambling in Pennsylvania took shape Saturday as lawmakers scrambled to complete a plan to pay for a $32 billion state budget.

Legislative leaders, along with Gov. Tom Wolf, are said to be seeking about $700 million in recurring revenues to close out the budget, and all sides have committed to doing that without an increase in the state’s 3.07 percent income tax, or 6 percent sales tax.

Gambling expansion has significantly slowed the effort to date, as warring factions have clashed for weeks over how deep to plunge in this next wave of legalization.

And that’s were the most-evident progress was made Saturday.

The Morning Call: Pennsylvania casino expansion bill could hurt Bethlehem’s and Allentown’s finances

A gambling expansion bill being brokered in this weekend’s state budget negotiations could cause Bethlehem, Allentown and other cities financial pain in coming years.

For months, the Legislature has been trying to fix a piece of the state’s 2004 casino law that the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional. The court ruled in the fall that the state was illegally and unevenly making casinos pay host fees totaling $142 million to municipalities. Rather than end the fee and hurt city budgets overnight, the court gave the Legislature time to fix the law. But lawmakers have been unable to do so in large part because other parts of the state are clamoring for a share of the money.

Now, the idea being discussed — but not finalized — is to put a sunset provision in the law, allowing grandfathered cities to collect the host fee for a set amount of time before it goes away completely, Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery, said in an interview Saturday. There is no exact time when a potential sunset provision would kick in, Mensch said during a rare weekend session called while GOP leaders try to cobble together a series of bills that spell out how the state can spend its $32 billion budget.

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