Pennsylvania ponders extras for film industry in shadow of $2.3 billion deficit

By   /  February 25, 2015  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, Finances, Jobs + Growth, Pennsylvania, State Budgets, Taxes  /  No Comments

Photo from official governor website

Some Pennsylvania legislators want to increase handouts to the film industry, even though the state and its new governor face a huge deficit and some economists say the payoffs are murky at best for taxpayers.

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Hertz underpaid one PA county by nearly half a million, audit found

By   /  February 20, 2015  /  Accountability, Finances, Local News, News, Pennsylvania  /  No Comments

Shutterstock image

An audit by Allegheny County’s controller found a nearly half-million-dollar “oops” by the Hertz at the airport. It paid only half of the taxes it collected, and the mistake may cost another $307,000 in penalties and interest as well. With this find, the controller’s office will now audit back to 2008, when the tax was passed.

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Lobbyists see little love from Pennsylvania’s Ethics Commission

By   /  February 19, 2015  /  Accountability, Lobbying, Open Records, Pennsylvania, Transparency  /  No Comments

Shutterstock image

Ten organizations will see their pockets a little lighter after fines announced by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission this month, for violations of the state lobbying disclosure law. “In the last two years, (these penalties) averaged over $100,000 a year,” said Rob Caruso, executive director of the commission.

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MNsure audit confirms ‘seriously flawed’ rollout of health insurance exchange

By   /  February 18, 2015  /  Accountability, Health Care, Issues, Minnesota, News, State Budgets, State Government, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

Facebook Friendly:  MNsure state exchange has Minnesotans covered on social media but enrolling can be another matter. MNsure Photo.

Well intentioned, but not well executed.

That’s a phrase that could describe any number of government programs, and on Tuesday that was the way state auditors summed up a difficult first year for Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange program.

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Body-cams may increase transparency, but raise questions too

By   /  February 13, 2015  /  Accountability, Audio, News, Open Records, Pennsylvania, Regulations, Transparency  /  No Comments

Photo by Rachel Martin

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee held an on-the-road hearing in Pittsburgh Wednesday, to address issues of best practices in policing and how work in Allegheny County may be a model for others in the commonwealth. Over a dozen witnesses and nearly four hours of testimony confirmed the basic premise of the devil being in the details.

While witnesses were uniformly in favor of increased use of body cameras, it was clear that implementing their use is a bit thornier. One issue was how available such video should be to the public under the state’s right to know law.

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Oregon governor’s controversy puts green groups on the spot

By   /  February 10, 2015  /  Accountability, Energy and Environment, Ethics, News, Oregon, Politics, State Government  /  No Comments

AP Photo

A growing controversy involving the governor of Oregon and his fiancée has also put the spotlight on green groups that hired Cylvia Hayes for renewable energy work.

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