Budget blues: Moody’s downgrades Pennsylvania’s bond rating

By   /  July 22, 2014  /  News, Pennsylvania  /  No Comments

KNOCKED DOWN: Moody's downgraded Pennsylvania's bond rating on Monday, citing pension liabilities and a budget filled with non-recurring revenues as reasons why.

That didn’t take long.

Just weeks after Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a patchwork budget and skipped town without addressing pension reform, Moody’s has downgraded Pennsylvania’s general obligation bond rating. It dropped the state fom Aa2 — its third-highest rating — to Aa3.

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Week in review: Backroom meetings and stalled reform in PA

By   /  July 18, 2014  /  Pennsylvania  /  No Comments

LOOKING BACK: Gov. Tom Corbett is still pushing pension reform, but GOP lawmakers have struggled to push forward a conservative agenda.

Pennsylvania’s Capitol has finally settled down after a rocky budget season that saw Gov. Tom Corbett sign a $29 billion spending plan 10 days late — but not without axing more than $72 million in legislative funding and earmarks.

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Even with GOP majority, Pennsylvania can’t accomplish conservative agenda

By   /  July 18, 2014  /  News, Pennsylvania, Pensions  /  No Comments

REFORM BLOCKADE: The state Legislature has failed so far to tackle pension reform, perhaps the biggest item on the conservative agenda this year. When asking why, attention has recently turned to the more moderate Republicans who perhaps rely more on labor support than their more conservative brethren.

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent
As Gov. Tom Corbett crisscrosses Pennsylvania to gin up support for public pension reform while lawmakers break for the summer, there’s ample opportunity to explore what has held up legislation that could save the state $11 billion over 30 years.
In recent weeks, that focus has shifted to the General Assembly’s [...]

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Will donors punish GOP outliers on election law?

By   /  July 17, 2014  /  Alabama, Elections, Indiana, Michigan, National, New Jersey, News, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Supreme Court, Vermont, Wisconsin  /  No Comments

DUE DILIGENCE: Rep. Charles Dent took "great pains to make certain that nothing would penalize states."

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than two-thirds of the Republican co-sponsors of a controversial voter bill have gone silent.
They have good reason to lay low, says one election-law attorney.
U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, said he’s proud to work with the American Civil Liberties Union and [...]

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Ride-sharing services defy shut-down order in Pittsburgh

By   /  July 16, 2014  /  News, Pennsylvania  /  No Comments

FREE-MARKET SOLUTION STYMIED: When Pittsburghers needed an alternative to taxis, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft filled the gap. Now, state regulations are jeopardizing that.

When Pittsburghers couldn’t catch a cab or spent more than an hour waiting for a taxi that wasn’t guaranteed to arrive, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft suddenly appeared to fill the void.

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‘Vortex of political hell’ captures Philly’s cigarette tax bill

By   /  July 15, 2014  /  News, Pennsylvania  /  No Comments

JUST A BILL: The cigarette tax for Philadelphia schools is tied up with several other controversial proposals inside the same piece of legislation. It's creating quite a mess in Harrisburg.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter gets credit for calling it like he sees it.

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