Wrath of CON: PA lawmaker would let hospitals help pick their competitors

By   /  July 22, 2015  /  Health Care, Media, News, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Regulations, Video  /  1 Comment

screenshot2 from Wrath of CON video

A Pennsylvania legislator wants to look into reviving a long-dead bit of bureaucracy, where the state decides whether a community needs a medical facility that’s being proposed. The federal government is now advising against these regulations, though its responsible for many states implementing them in the first place.

Read More →

Minnesotans may pay for soccer stadium after all (John Oliver says it’s a bad idea)

By   /  July 13, 2015  /  Accountability, Finances, Issues, Media, Minnesota, News, State Budgets, State Government, Video  /  No Comments

JohnOliverSports

It’s been less than three months since the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton decided there would not be a taxpayer-funded soccer-specific stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

But Minnesotans, or at least residents of St. Paul, might end up picking up the tab for a stadium anyway.

Read More →

Jobs programs are putting kids to work — but the public’s price tag is unclear

By   /  July 8, 2015  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, Finances, Jobs + Growth, Media, News, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Video  /  No Comments

Screenshot from 3 Rivers Workforce Investment Board video

The Pittsburgh area and Erie County are providing summer jobs for a couple thousand kids, between them, and the public is still footing most of the bill. In the Pittsburgh program, some employers are now paying interns’ wages, but it’s unclear how much of the total tab the public is picking up. Erie County’s program, only in its second year, has begun reaching out to the private sector.

Read More →

The big bang theory? PA senators want to legalize fireworks for state residents

By   /  July 3, 2015  /  Legislature, Media, News, Ohio, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Regulations, Video, West Virginia  /  No Comments

Photo by Rachel Martin

Three Pennsylvania senators say they will introduce new legislation ironing out the lack of logic in current fireworks law.

Read More →

Pennsylvania family forced to pay $500 for a chance to keep girl’s tree house

By   /  June 12, 2015  /  community, Issues, News, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Power Abuse, Regulations, Video  /  No Comments

Photo by Rachel Martin

Elise Truchan has learned some lessons in her first run-in with bureaucracy.

“I’ve learned that people lie,” is unfortunately one of them, her father recounted to Watchdog.org.

Elise built an elaborate tree house for a eighth-grade school project — complete with sliding plexiglass windows and a rope ladder for entrants more coordinated and less wimpy than this reporter. But her family is now fighting to not have to immediately tear it town.

Read More →

Contest for controller’s office ugly but important for taxpayers

By   /  June 3, 2015  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Politics, Politics & Elections, Taxes, Transparency, Video, Wasteful spending  /  1 Comment

best from annual report presser - photo by Rachel Martin - cropped further

On primary election day, voters in Allegheny County decided they were concerned with how their tax dollars are spent. They re-elected a controller who’s insisted on not just checking the numbers, but also looking at efficiency.

Read More →