Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
HARRISBURG – New mayors have been elected in four large cities under Act 47 status just as lawmakers are giving greater attention to urban fiscal issues.
Election Day brought victories to Democrat Bill Courtright in Scranton, Democrat Bill Peduto in Pittsburgh, Democrat Eric Papenfuse in Harrisburg and Republican Matt Pacifico in Altoona.
The mayors-elect came to office by various routes and campaigned on issues specific to their cities, but once in office they will face common problems with a shrinking tax base, greater demand for municipal services and the skyrocketing cost of unfunded pension obligations for municipal employees.
It could help matters that new elected spokesmen for cities will be on the scene while state lawmakers consider a wave of legislation to help municipalities address financial problems.
A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The city’s plans to apply for a major revitalization zone went public this morning, as the effort won approval from local business and community groups, county officials and even colleges and state legislators that will collaborate on the effort.
“We’re a team,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat.
“We’re totally committed to work on a united effort to get a proposal in place,” Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said.
Council and the local businesses clearly are in on the effort, Council President Francis G. Acosta said.
Official portrait of United States Congressman (D-NY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s possible that New York Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was simply suffering from low blood sugar when he verbally attacked a man who tried to shame him Wednesday as Weiner campaigned in an Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn.
After all, his left cheek was bulging like a chipmunk when he heard someone in the bakery call him a “scumbag.”
Or it could just be that he’s had it, sick of being moralized at by people who are too dense to grasp that Weiner, who has already apologized for his mortifying sexual improprieties and begged his wife for forgiveness, has Moved On.
Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed into law the bill that will give Reading and other Pennsylvania cities a chance to create so-called City Revitalization and Improvement Zones to attract new businesses.
The 130-acre zones will be funded with public bonds issued by a local municipal authority running the zone. The bonds will be repaid by local and state tax revenue raised within the zone.
The number of people using food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased by an average of 13 percent a year from 2008 to 2012. House Republicans dropped funding for food stamps from a new version of the farm bill. Voting takes place Thursday. Read related article.
The House today is expected to begin debate on a $28.3 billion state spending plan for next year.
It is the House Republicans’ 2013-14 budget proposal, one of three that has been put on the table along with ones from Gov. Tom Corbett and Senate Democrats.
None of the three plans call for any increases in in broad-based taxes, such as the sales tax or personal income taxes.
Much of today’s debate is likely to focus on amendments that reflect the House Democrats’ priorities that would raise the proposed total spending level to $28.7 billion. The additional money they want to spend would be directed to K-12 and higher education and social services.
English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration will hurt everything from the local barbershop to the largest manufacturers in Northeast Pennsylvania, said members of a panel at Sen. Bob Casey’s office Friday in downtown Scranton.
With no deal between Congress and the White House in sight and just hours before sequestration kicked in at midnight, the Democratic senator and a cross-section of local civic leaders struck a dire tone.
“We don’t have a full sense of what will happen,” Mr. Casey said. ”If this goes a day or week, it will have an impact. If it goes six months, the effect will be devastating.”
As the furloughs and cuts begin, sequestration will have an immediate impact not just on the government employees, but on contractors, and the communities where they live and spend.
Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world’s richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.
The 75-year-old Democrat’s decision, coming at a time when his popularity in a conservative state had been waning for sparring with the powerful mining industry and supporting President Barack Obama, told The Associated Press ahead of his formal announcement that it was time to retire.
After about three decades in elective office, it was time to “bring more balance to my life after a career that has been so obsessively dominated by politics and public policy and campaigns,” he said. ”I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren.”
Mr. Rockefeller’s retirement was widely expected and puts the seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy for the party. Within weeks of November’s elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito vowed to run for the Senate seat in 2014, even if it meant going up against Mr. Rockefeller and his storied name. Other Republicans also have been eyeing the seat in recent weeks.
English: President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the United States Capitol on 24 February 2009. Español: Presidente Barack Obama dando un discurose por una sesión conjunta del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en la cámara de la Cámara de Representantes en el Capitolio de los Estados Unidos, 24 de febrero de 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences today on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.
Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.
Republicans want to replace across-the-board reductions with targeted cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the White House and Democrats were resisting.
At the same time, Democrats said the two sides were closing in on an agreement over taxes. They said the White House had proposed blocking an increase for most Americans, while letting rates rise for individuals with incomes of $400,000 a year and $450,000 for couples, a concession from President Barack Obama’s campaign call to set the levels at $200,000 and $250,000.
“The disgraced former congressman—who’s sitting on a $4.5 million campaign war chest—is mulling a bid for citywide office next year and ‘seriously considering’ a mayoral run,” sources told the New York Post. The newspaper reported that Weiner has spoken with former staffers about returning to work for him.
Does anyone else see the irony in the above headline? A man named Weiner tweeted a photo of his….well, you get the idea.
U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) just got married last July. Today, Weiner admitted having online sex relationships with “about six women over the past three years”, after his botched cover-up attempt failed.
We should feel good knowing that Mr. Weiner never had “sex” outside of his marriage, HOWEVER he continued to have online relationships with other women after he in fact DID get married. Ummmm…does anyone else find comfort in this revelation? Mr. Weiner also stated he “believes” the women he sexted were all adults, but he does not actually know their ages.
Another juicy bit of irony here is that former President Bill Clinton officiated at Mr. Weiner’s wedding.
Embattled Montgomery County Commissioner, Joe Hoeffel will not run again. Instead, he will support Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards. Shapiro and Richards are running as a team and joined Hoeffel at a news conference where he announced he would not seek relection.
It looks like Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor will run again. Castor was not involved in the Sunshine Law charges leveled against Commissioners Matthews and Hoeffel. The three commissioners have had a strained relationship and frequently made headlines in local papers with their squabbling.
The Republican nominating convention will be held on February 9th and the Democratic Nominating Convention will take place on February 15th.
Let us hope whoever wins can work together for the good of Pennsylvania’s third largest and second wealthiest county!
The mayor of McKeesport, Jim Brewster (D) won the 45th District State Senate seat on Tuesday. Brewster has been involved in McKeesport politics for many years, first serving a ten-year stint on city council and then as mayor for the last seven years. The mayor has helped improve conditions in McKeesport and hopes to do the same thing in Harrisburg.
On the other side of the state, 3-term Hazleton Mayor, Lou Barletta (R) finally ousted 13-term incumbent Paul Kanjorski (D) on his third try and is headed off to represent the 11th Congressional District is Washington, DC. Mayor Barletta made national headlines when Hazleton passed an immigration law which is being challenged in a federal case by the ACLU. Barletta said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barletta feels being in Congress is the best place to address the immigration issue.
This is an interesting article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Dan Onorato’s unsuccessful bid for governor and what went wrong for him in Allegheny County, where he should have won handily over GOP rival Tom Corbett. I found this article insightful.