Gov. Corbett Announces Hundreds Of Additional Projects Due To Transportation Plan

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA – Gov. Tom Corbett today outlined more than 250 projects that will start work this year due to the state’s new transportation plan.

At least $2.1 billion will be invested into the state’s highway and bridge network — about $600 million more than what would have been available without the transportation bill Corbett signed last fall. Overall, more than 900 projects will get underway this year.

“This plan is creating safer roads, bridges and transit systems while at the same time saving 12,000 jobs and creating 50,000 new ones over the next five years – 18,000 jobs are expected to be created this year alone.” Corbett said. “We are putting these transportation investments to work quickly as we strive to build a stronger Pennsylvania both now and in the future.”

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New A.C. Mayor Vows Better Relationships With State, Casinos

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Talk about shuffling the deck.

In an unexpected outcome, voters replaced two-term incumbent and Gov. Christie foe Mayor Lorenzo Langford with an openly gay Republican who rides a bicycle to work and whose current job is with the state board that oversees the governor’s tourism district.

Atlantic City is amazing at how it reinvents itself,” Mayor-elect Don Guardian said Wednesday in a bit of understatement to supporters and press at his Atlantic Avenue headquarters.

The 60-year-old Guardian, an Eagle Scout who came to Atlantic City from Bergen County to be an executive with the local Boy Scouts, has spent 20 years as head of the city’s Special Improvement District, a division of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees the state Tourism District.


Corbett Brings In Fresh Advisers

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett may not be changing his message as he shifts into re-election mode, but for the first time in his nearly three-year tenure he’s bringing in new messengers.

The Republican has appointed a new chief of staff and a new communications director – both seasoned political operatives who worked for Gov. Tom Ridge – and plans to name a press secretary in an apparent effort to bolster his relationship with the news media.

The shake-up comes on the heels of a legislative session that failed to yield a single victory among Corbett’s top three initiatives – transportation funding, liquor privatization and changes to the public pension system – and polls that show his public support sagging.

Among the outsiders watching all of this closely are the former press secretaries to the governors who preceded Corbett.  And they have some strong opinions about how the incumbent deals with the media and the public.

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Americans On Food Stamps

English: Logo of the .

English: Logo of the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Click here to see map of US with 2012 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation levels by state:

Pennsylvania Legislature OKs Budget, But Not Corbett Agenda

HARRISBURG – The main Pennsylvania state budget bill became law with Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature on Sunday night, as he acknowledged that the wider agenda he had sought with it of overhauling public employee pension systems, privatizing wine and liquor sales and increasing transportation funding has stalled until the fall.

Still, Corbett did not express disappointment, and instead sought to highlight the progress that occurred in the Legislature.

“I have to thank the people for what they’ve done and I certainly encourage them when they return in the fall,” Corbett told reporters shortly after the signing the bill at 10:15 p.m.  “Let’s get it done.”

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State Budget Action Takes Center Stage This Week In The House, But Will It Get Done On Time?

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.

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The Impact Of The Fiscal Cliff On The States: Sequestration

Click here to see a chart of all 50 states and where your state stands:

You can click on the state of your choice and get all the details broken down for you.

Corbett Expected To Seek Tax Hike For Transporation

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett is preparing to unveil a transportation plan funded primarily by nearly $2 billion a year in new taxes on gas stations, sources familiar with the plan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Republican governor, who pledged not to raise taxes when he ran for office, will announce the fine points of the long-awaited initiative next week, the sources told the AP on the condition they not be identified.

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House Republicans Balk At Deal; Fiscal Cliff Coming

WASHINGTON — Last-minute efforts to step back from the “fiscal cliff” ran into trouble on Tuesday as Republicans in the House of Representatives balked at a deal that would prevent Washington from pushing the world’s biggest economy into a recession.

House Republicans complained that a bill passed by the Senate in a late-night show of unity to prevent a budget crisis contained tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans but no spending cuts.  Some conservatives sought to change the bill to add cuts.

That would set up a high-stakes showdown between the two chambers and risk a stinging rebuke from financial markets that are due to open in Asia in a few hours.

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Where Obama Did Better — And Where He Did Worse

Editor’s note:  Very interesting election analysis regardless of which side you are on.  Shows the differences between McCain and Romney’s efforts in their respective run for President again Obama.

President Obama carried fewer states than he did four years ago.  He won a second term by dominating the nation’s large urban areas — although mostly by smaller margins compared to his 2008 vote totals.

To view interactive maps for each state, by county, for 2008 and 2012 click here:

Not Chris Christie’s Fault Mitt Romney Lost To Barack Obama

English: US_Attorney_Chris_Christie.jpg‎ cropp...

English: US_Attorney_Chris_Christie.jpg‎ cropped as square headshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Interesting opinion piece from the Trentonian on Chris Christie.

Hey Dick Morris:  You live up to your first name.

The political commentator lives up to his name not because he predicted a Mitt Romney electoral college romp, although that’s probably reason enough.  But nope.  Reason is because of his blog post about why he was so miserably wrong in his prediction.

“I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama,” Morris wrote.  “Not to mention Christie’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership.  It made all the difference.”

To recap: Morris blames Romney’s loss on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.  Many Republicans are also starting to believe this line of reasoning.

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Economy Remains Issue That Will Occupy U.S. Lawmakers, Several Observers Note

A nasty election season that ends with close results is not going to clear the muddy waters of American political discourse.

Many people likely thought that on Wednesday as the nation once again focused on serious yet divisive problems like the national debt and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The election gave President Barack Obama a second term but left control of the Senate and the House divided between Democrats and Republicans.

“The public re-upped on divided government,” said Glenn W. Richardson Jr., an associate professor of political science at Kutztown University.

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New Polls Show Pennsylvania A Battleground State

English: Official portrait of United States Se...

English: Official portrait of United States Senator Pat Toomey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Oh please, we knew it would be!

HARRISBURG – Tightening independent polls are giving hope to Republicans in Pennsylvania, although the presidential campaigns show no signs of bringing their candidates or TV ads back to the state.

Instead, Pennsylvania’s highest-profile politicians are finding themselves increasingly busy on the campaign trail, including Gov. Tom Corbett and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, both Republicans, and former Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat.

In State College on Monday night, Toomey made time for a crowd of several dozen at a Centre County Republican Party dinner and told them that a sixth straight win for a Democrat in Pennsylvania’s presidential election is not inevitable.  After all, Pennsylvanians elected himself and Corbett just two years ago and 12 of 19 U.S. House seats are held by Republicans, he said.

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Newt Gingrich Considering A Run For President

Newt Gingrich

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Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich is considering a run for the White House.  He will begin an exploratory process of raising money to “test the waters” and see if there would be enough support for his candidacy.

Gingrich left Congress is 1999 but has stayed very politically active and appears on many television shows where he weighs in on current political events.  Gingrich intends to take a formal step in the next two weeks toward running for the Republican nomination in 2012.

Fox News has suspended their contracts with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich while they both explore the possibility of seeking the Republican nomination for President.

Joe Hoeffel Will Not Seek Relection

Joe Hoeffel

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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!

Pennsylvania Sets Tone For New Era Of Civility

SVG of Pennsylvania state seal

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I am and have always been proud to be a Pennsylvanian.  When I read about things like this it makes me even more proud to be from this great state!

Our two U.S. Senators, Bob Casey, Jr. (D) and Pat Toomey (R) will sit together during the State of the Union address on Tuesday.  This is significant because both parties normally segregate themselves, on opposite sides of the room.

In light of the tragedy in Tucson and the very uncivil political climate in our country, I am pleased that our U.S. Senators will be showing the rest of America that Pennsylvania leads the pack when it comes to bipartisan cooperation!

State Store Sale And Privitization On The Agenda For Corbett

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
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Governor-elect Tom Corbett (R) is going to try and get Pennsylvania out of the liquor store business.  Two other governors have tried and failed, however, the new power shift in Harrisburg may finally enable this measure to go through.  House Bill 2350 will be reintroduced.  Estimates put the sale of the stores at $2 billion dollars.  It is also hoped to substantially reduce the number of Pennsylvania residents, who live near bordering states, from purchasing alcohol outside of Pennsylvania.

Two Pennsylvania Mayors Elected To Higher Office

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.

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:

President Clinton To Attend Bethlehem Rally For Onorato

Official White House photo of President Bill C...

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Former President Bill Clinton will be campaigning in Bethlehem for Dan Onorato (D), candidate of governor of Pennsylvania, on Thursday of this week.  The rally will be held at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem.

In other political news, several major newspapers have endorsed Tom Corbett (R) and Dan Onorato (D).  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is endorsing Corbett while Onorato received the support of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Scranton Times-Tribune and the Easton Express-Times.