Fast Eddie’s Crib Open For Christmas Tours

If you live in the Harrisburg area or feel like taking a drive, the Pennsylvania Governor’s mansion is lavishly decorated for Christmas and open to the public.  There is live music and entertainment.  Santa will even stop by.  Check this link for dates and times the mansion is open for tours.

There are 15 pictures to check out as well.

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/12/governors_residence_open_for_h.html

York’s Olde Towne East Neighborhood Transformed

Olde Towne East was a down and out neighborhood in York.  Blight, crime, vacant buildings and low property values.  Read this article about how Olde Towne East rose like a phoenix from the ashes and now their neighborhood is a source of pride in York!

http://www.newpa.com/strengthen-your-community/success-stories/million-dollar-makeover/index.aspx

Pennsylvania Election 2010

Now that the dust has settled, we have some new elected officials and hopefully those annoying phone calls and all the junk mail is over until the next election!

Some interesting facts about the election and maybe something Democrats need to think about for the future.  Winning an election in Pennsylvania can’t be done by concentrating on Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties.  Corbett carried Allegheny County, not by much, but he did.  Can’t say that Onorato should feel too good about losing the county he is Executive for.  Onorato lost Allegheny County by 649 votes.  Another reason everyone should vote!  Toomey didn’t lose by much in Allegheny County and he carried most other large counties.  He did take a beating in Philadelphia as expected.

Pennsylvania is a diverse state.  There are other heavily populated areas that are or lean Republican.  Lancaster County has over 500,000 people, York County has over 400,000 residents, Chester County has almost 500,000 residents, Berks has over 400,000 residents so I submit these counties more than make up for Philadelphia.  Bucks County with its 600,000+ residents swung Republican for governor and the US Senate races.  Can’t put all your eggs in one basket and win in PA.

We congratulate the winners.  We expect big things.  We will be watching and reporting in our usual no-nonsense style so don’t screw up!

Tom Corbett has a big task ahead of him.  This editorial from the Harrisburg Patriot outlines the road ahead: http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/11/governor_corbett_hit_the_groun.htmlhttp://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/11/governor_corbett_hit_the_groun.html

Pennsylvania Experiences Revenue Decrease For October

Some disappointing financial news for Pennsylvania.  Revenue collected for October was 3.2% below projections, which translates to $57 million dollars less than expected for the month.  $44 million of the shortfall was in the personal income tax category.

We aren’t out of the woods yet!

Harrisburg May Not Make Payroll For City Employees

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A bad situation is getting worse by the minute.  Harrisburg has 557 employees and the payroll is $1.2 million.  Payroll is due next week and the city has $492,000.00 in the bank.

Fast Eddie and Linda Thompson are scrambling to find lenders to cover the payroll gap but lenders are skittish about investing in Harrisburg.  Not just because of the incinerator debt but also because of the fighting between the mayor and council.  There is no clear plan in place to get Harrisburg out of the mess they find themselves in.  There is a lot of rhetoric and finger-pointing but no good solutions seem to be forthcoming.

 Somebody needs to take control of this rapidly deteriorating situation!

Fast Eddie Seeks White House Chief of Staff Job

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More proof that Fast Eddie is losin’ it!  IMHO you suck as governor so why would anyone give you a position of greater importance that would allow you to do more damage on a larger scale.  Nice subtle hint by the way!

You’re right Ed, talk of you replacing Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff is ludicrous”.

Made me bang my head on the computer desk over this one!

Harrisburg Mayor Holding News Conference At Noon – Expected To Announce Harrisburg Will Enter Act 47

Breaking News!!

Isn’t this just a feather in Fast Eddie’s cap.  Our state capital is poised to enter Act 47 right before he leaves office.  Great job there Eddo.

More to come on this story!!

UPDATE!

With Fast Eddie by her side, Linda Thompson announced that she has applied for protection under Act 47 for the City of Harrisburg.  If Council approves, the rubber-stamp will come from Fast Eddie and Harrisburg will join a distinguished list of Pennsylvania cities that are financially distressed!

Harrisburg City And Authority Move Forward In Debt Crisis

Some positive and forward momentum was made last night when the Harrisburg Authority added a needed sixth member to make a quorum.  The Authority has not had a quorum since May!  Evidently Mayor Linda Thompson finally got her nominee approved after several months of lobbying.

Harrisburg City Council also approved making a one-time $3.3 million dollar payment on the incinerator debt via a budget transfer.  Where did this money suddenly come from you ask?  Ed Rendell, governor deluxe, basically gave Harrisburg money they would be receiving throughout the year in a lump sum.  As you recall, the two bank accounts the debt payment was to come from had less than $2.00 between them.

There is still much division between Mayor Thompson and council on how to proceed with a long-term incinerator debt strategy.  Harrisburg owes $288 million dollars!

Also Scott Balice Strategies is tapped to be hired with state funds to help Harrisburg out of their current financial black hole.  Everyone on council is not on board with this decision and the City Controller said he will not sign off on paying Scott Balice Strategies until council votes in favor of the hire.

One member of council tried to make a motion to hire a bankruptcy lawyer to investigate filing for Chapter 9.  However, the councilor was told his motion was inappropriate as it was at the end of the meeting.  The meeting was quickly adjourned.

Sounds like Harrisburg isn’t out of the woods yet!

Harrisburg Authority Defaults On Incinerator Bond Payment!

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This is very bad news!  The City of Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Authority have defaulted on a $35 million dollar bond payment for the incinerator.  Dauphin County is now on the hook for $35 million dollars by December 1st.

The payment was to come from two accounts.  One account had .49 cents in it and the second account contained .84 cents.  I have more change in my pocket!

I reported earlier that the city controller had come up with a plan for debt repayment on the incinerator, however, I would think this is NOT part of the plan to repay the debt.  Unless defaulting on the loan is the only way to transfer the responsibility to the county, which was part of the plan, I believe.

The Economy Is Still Bad

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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had 592,000 people unemployed in the month of July.  7000, mostly “census jobs”, were lost which contributed to the decline.  The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 9.3% for July 2010, which is a full point higher than July 2009.  Yes, things are just getting better all the time.  The national unemployement rate is 9.5%.

Fast Eddie Update

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell at the Broad ...

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Our illustrious and soon-to-be ex-governor, Ed Rendell, has announced that only 100 Commonwealth employees will be laid-off as a result of the “budget” passed by the state legislature which counted on money before it was allocated.  Always a bright move!

Fortunately, so many people retired that it cut the number of employees needing furloughed from 1,000 to 100.

Rendell is proposing more spending cuts and taxes to make up for the budget shortfall he and the legislature created by including federal stimulus money in the budget before it was approved on Capitol Hill.

Looking forward to January 1st!  We won’t miss ya Ed.

Fast Eddie News

Three things today:

1.  Rendell is leaving us with one last “gift” when he leaves office.  Pennsylvania  Turnpike tolls will be increasing another 10% effective 1/2/11.  E-Z Pass customers will experience a 3% increase.  It is speculated that this is the first in a series of fare increases.  Thanks Ed!

2.  Rendell now expects state employee layoffs to only be about 200 because everybody, their brother and the horse the rode in on are retiring.  The hiring freeze has also helped.  We should have a more concrete number next week.  Oh joy, oh rapture.  More drain on the pension fund.  That will fix everything.

3.  I heard on the radio yesterday that the Pennsylvania State Police have trooper openings that need filled.  So guess what?  They don’t have the money to train them since Fast Eddie slashed their budget something like $9 million dollars.  So no new troopers.  Ummmm public safety is pretty important Ed.  I think we can do with a few less SEPTA or PAT transit employees before we start cutting the police budget.  Many areas of our state depend on the Pennsylvania State Police as their only means of police protection.  Bad move Ed.

Pennsylvania Governor Race Gets Crowded With Third Party Candidates

Tom Corbett (R) and Dan Onorato (D) will have some company as they each try to become the next governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Three third-party candidates have entered the race:

1.  Libertarian Party Candidate Marakay Rogers of York.

2. Tea Party Candidate John Krupa of Lock Haven.

3. Write-In Candidate state Rep. Sam Rohrer.

Corbett and Onorato both stated they are not concerned these fringe candidates will take away votes or pose a serious threat to their two-way race.

At this point, it won’t take much to be an improvement over Ed Rendell.

Starting Today A New Insurance Plan For Pennsylvania Residents With Pre-existing Conditions

A new plan to help Pennsylvania residents with pre-existing conditions is taking applications starting this week.  The plan is called “PA Fair Care” and is being designed to help those who can not get insurance because they have a pre-existing medical condition.

The monthly premium is an affordable $283.20.  The plan has a $1,000.00 yearly deductible and a $25.00 co-pay for doctor visits.

There is no financial need criteria!  You must be a US citizen, have been without health insurance for six months and have been turned down or charged unaffordable premiums because of a pre-existing condition.

Only 3,500 people will be initially signed up on a first come, first serve basis.  Eventually, 5,600 people will be covered until 2014.

Highmark Blue Shield is the plan provider.  PA Fair Care is being funded by a $160,000,000.00 federal grant.

To sign up or get further information, go to: http://www.PAFairCare.com

Scranton Triple-A Baseball Park Grant – No Comment

An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s Morning Call about PNC Field in Moosic, a Scranton suburb.  The 22-year-old, 10,000 seat stadium is in need of repairs to its concrete and steel structure.  PNC Field is the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, a Triple A farm team for MLB’s New York Yankees.

So along comes Fast Eddie offering a $20,000,000.00 grant to help repair the aging stadium.  This would be the largest grant ever given during the Rendell administration’s tenure.  The money would come from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

It seems officials would like to see PNC Field become more like Coca Cola Park in Allentown, which is more family-friendly. 

Now the catch is, there must be matching funding for the project.  As of Monday, there was no definite answer where the other half of the money would come from.  The entire project is being kept a secret for some reason.  Rendell’s office is not commenting on what exactly the money will be used for.  At this juncture, one can only speculate what the project will entail.

The Rendell administration is braying about the economic impact of fixing the stadium.  That is all well and good but why all the secrecy?  The Yankees are making no comments either.  It is time for new leadership in this state who believe in transparency!

Follow The Money Trail – Pennsylvania Beats Nevada For Gambling Tax Profits

According to research compiled by the Morning Call in Allentown; Pennsylvania wins first prize in the amount of revenue collected from gambling taxes. 

Okay, that’s Jim Dandy….what did we do with the $1.1 BILLION dollars collected from our 9 casinos in 2009?  Did we make origami? 

This money was supposed to help with property tax relief and a host of other things.  Instead, we pretend we have $850,000,000.00 from the federal government in our 2010/2011 budget and our state unemployment compensation fund is bankrupt.

What the hell?  Am I missing something here?  That’s a HUGE chunk of money.  What did we spend it on?  Root beer floats and pork projects?

Inquiring minds would like to know!

Pennsylvania State Worker Layoffs Still Looming On The Horizon

Looks like no state layoffs this week according to our illustrious governor Ed Rendell.  Governor Rendell had targeted 700 jobs to be furloughed last week but that number may be less due to attrition.  What a difference a week makes?

Why are layoffs looming on the horizon (you might ask yourself) after we approved a state budget on time, no less. It seems we counted some chickens yet to be hatched to the tune of $850,000,000.00 dollars.  Opps!  We bad.  We included this amount in the state budget for Medicaid assistance even though Congress has not approved the money at this juncture.

Don’t be surprised if this money is not forthcoming and then watch the ants scramble.

It’s time for a leadership change!

New Blight Legislation In Pennsylvania! A Tool For Communities Like Pottstown

This news is too awesome for words.  If you read my blog, you know that blight is something I post about along with brownfield reclamation.  These issues are pivotal to places like Pottstown and their redevelopment.  We need to attract middle class taxpaying homeowners and business/industry to reestablish the tax base.  Getting rid of run-down properties is certainly one way to do that!  Nobody wants to live in or locate a business in a blighted neighborhood.

The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, Senate Bill 900, unanimously passed in the PA Senate and is under review by the House Urban Affairs Committee.

This bill is aimed at slumlords and their neglected properties.  If passed, the bill gives municipalities the ability to place liens against the property owners TOTAL ASSETS, not just the property in question.  It also gives municipalities the power of extradition against out-of-state slumlords to face charges here in PA!  Property owners can be denied permit applications if they are behind on taxes, municipal charges (i.e. sewer/water) or have code violations.  County Commissioners would be given the power to establish a “housing court” that would only deal with housing related offenses!

WOW!

Of course, there are those opposed because of the total asset seizure provision.  IMHO good landlords do not have anything to worry about.  They take care of their properties, pay their bills and are an asset to the community.  For those who do not play by the rules it is about time there are some real consequences!

If you feel passionate about this bill becoming law, contact your Pennsylvania State Representative and urge him or her to vote yes on this important bill when it comes before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Christie Puts Property Tax Reform Into Place In New Jersey

Dear Ed Rendell,

I seem to remember property tax relief/reform being a priority during your 2002 campaign.  Geeze Ed, 8 years later….ummmm not seeing any relief yet.  Those of us in Pottstown certainly haven’t noticed any relief as taxes have skyrocketed!  What about all the gambling money that was going to “easy the burden” of the average Pennsylvania taxpayer?  Hmmmmm, we are not seeing any of that gambling money floating around Pottstown either, Ed.  Heck, the Keim Street bridge needs replaced before it falls into the Schuylkill River for starters.  Can ya send a few bucks our way??

So along comes New Jersey’s new governor Christie.  The guy just gets into office and hasn’t even broken in his chair yet and badabing-badaboom….a property tax relief bill is signed into law.  Just like Christie promised.  Imagine our surprise here in Pottstown, Ed.  Maybe you should give Governor Christie a call and ask for a few tax relief pointers before you leave office.  You still have a couple of months to get the ball rolling.  We would really appreciate your help in this matter.

Very Truly Yours, 

Overburdened Pottstown Taxpayers