Monday, March 22, 2010

The Pennsylvania 9 Who Voted for Obamacare

For the record, the following members of Congress from Pennsylvania voted on Sunday to raise your taxes, plunge the nation deeper into debt and impose a government-run health care system on Americans.

They voted "yes" to Obamacare. You should vote "no" when you see their names on the ballot in May and November:

Robert Brady (D-PA-1)

Christopher Carney (D-PA-10)

Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA-3)

Mike Doyle (D-PA-14)

Chaka Fattah (D-PA-2)

Paul Kanjorski (D-PA-11)

Patrick Murphy (D-PA-8)

Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13)

Joe Sestak (D-PA-7)

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deadline to Register to Vote in Pennsylvania's May Primary is April 19

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

States prepare to sue over Obamacare

Even if Nancy Pelosi conjures up parliamentary tricks to pass Obamacare, expect a long legal battle as states line up to sue the federal government over the unconstitutional federal takeover of the health-care system. Pennsylvania is one of 37 states that have threatened to sue over Obamacare.

From The Associated Press:
Idaho's governor on Wednesday became the first state chief executive to sign a measure requiring his attorney general to sue the federal government if the U.S. Congress passes health care reform that forces Americans to buy insurance.

"What the Idaho Health Freedom Act says is that the citizens of our state won't be subject to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control," Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said.

Constitutional law experts say Otter's action is mostly symbolic because federal laws supersede those of the states. But the movement reflects a growing national frustration with President President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states nationwide.

Democratic leaders in Washington D.C. are hoping to vote on the U.S. health care bill this weekend, but it is not clear if they have enough votes to pass it. The bill is Obama's top domestic priority and the health care issue could help determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress in the November election.

Last week, Virginia legislators passed a measure similar to Idaho's new law, but Otter was the first state chief executive to sign such a bill, according the American Legislative Exchange Council, which created model legislation for Idaho and other states. The Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit group promotes limited government.

Otter, a Republican, already warned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in December that Idaho was considering litigation if health reform went through.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jackpot! Table Games Coming to 2 PA Casinos

Two Pennsylvania casinos won approval Tuesday to begin offering poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and other table games by mid-year, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Downs Racing, LP, operators of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Luzerne County, and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., operators of parx casino/Philadelphia Park Racetrack in Bucks County, were the first two licensed slots facilities in the Pennsylvania to receive approval for table games, according to a Gaming Commission press release.

Read the full release at the link below:

Gaming Control Board Grants First Authorizations to Conduct Table Games at Pennsylvania Casinos

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pennsylvania's Tax Delinquent List Grows: $9.4M Owed By Businesses

With the addition of 41 new delinquent taxpayers to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue's tax delinquent list, a total of 275 businesses now owe the state more than $9.4 million, acting Revenue Secretary C. Daniel Hassell said today.

Businesses on Pennsylvania's Tax Delinquent List Now Owe More Than $9.4 Million; 41 Firms Added to List

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Here's something I can't figure out.

Nebraska, with a population of under 2 million and an annual budget of $18 billion somehow found enough money to lure a Pennsylvania manufacturer(and up to 90 jobs) to the Cornhusker State, yet Pennsylvania, with 12.6 million people and a General Fund budget of $28 billion, couldn't come up with financial incentives to keep the jobs in the Keystone State.

What's wrong with this picture?

Can one of you Ed Rendell lovers out there shed some light on the subject? "Fast Eddie" is always bragging that he's pouring billions of dollars into economic development. How could he allow Nebraska to steal away a manufacturing firm that traces its Pennsylvania roots to the 1920s?

From an article in today's edition of The Mercury about NEAPCO Components moving to Nebraska:
Neapco Components announced Friday it will be phasing out manufacturing at its Pottstown facility over the next 18 to 24 months, eliminating 70 to 90 jobs.

The manufacturing operations from Pottstown will be moving to Beatrice, Neb., said Neapco Executive Vice President and General Manager Keith Sanford.

"Why Nebraska versus Pottstown?" Sanford said. There were "financial incentives (offered) by the state of Nebraska."

Sanford said the move to Nebraska was an obvious business decision.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rendell runs up $477 million in red ink

The first rule of holes - when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Unfortunately, Gov. Ed Rendell never learned that bit of wisdom.

As of the end of February, Rendell has spent $476.7 million more than the state has taken in for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. That's called a deficit.

Over the past two fiscal years, Rendell has spent $4 billion more than the state took in. That's called a fiscal catastrophe.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue reports that Pennsylvania collected $1.5 billion in General Fund revenue in February, which was $102.3 million, or 6.4 percent, less than anticipated.

Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $16 billion, which is $476.7 million, or 2.9 percent, below estimate, according to the revenue department.

For a breakdown of tax revenues collected, follow the link below:

Pennsylvania Revenue Department Releases February Collections

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Casino Revenues Up 16% in PA

Nothing gets between a gambler and a trip to the casino.

Despite two huge snowstorms that paralyzed major parts of the state, tax revenue from the play of slot machines at the Commonwealth's nine casinos was nearly 16% higher in February this year over February of 2009, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The nine slot machine facilities operating in Pennsylvania during February of this year collectively generated $168,279,514 in gross revenue, compared to $145,579,665 in February of 2009 when seven casinos were in operation, the board reported. That's an increase of 15.59%.

Slot Machine Revenue in Pennsylvania Increases 16% in February

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rendell Signs 2 More Execution Warrants

Number of execution warrants signed by Gov. Ed Rendell since January 2003 -- 103.

Number of prisoners on Pennsylvania's Death Row executed since January 2003 -- 0.

Governor Rendell Signs Execution Warrants for Cam Ly, Shonda Walter

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tom Corbett unveils 12-point reform package

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett has released a 12-point plan to reform state government.

"To create real economic growth in Pennsylvania and put hard-working Pennsylvanians back to work ... we must start from the foundation up and reform the government that guides our economy," Corbett writes at his Web site. "Our government needs to be held to a higher standard to restore taxpayers' trust and confidence and to bring about good government at all levels and in every branch."

Corbett said his campaign will emphasize the need for "an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that finally puts Pennsylvania taxpayers first and gets the state back on track and moving in the right direction."

If elected, Corbett says he will introduce a comprehensive plan and begin the process of reforming Harrisburg and putting the "people" back in the "people's government."

During his first week in office, Corbett will issue executive orders to immediately implement far-reaching reforms that do not require legislative action and will work swiftly with the General Assembly on any reforms needing legislative approval, according to his Web site.

Here are the reforms Corbett is pushing:
1) Reducing the Size & Cost of Government
2) Transparency in State Government
3) Elimination of WAMS & Discretionary Funds
4) Elimination of State Government Paid Per Diems
5) Reducing the State Automotive Fleet
6) Biennial Budgeting
7) Zero-Based/Performance-Based Budgeting
8) Cap the General Assembly "Leadership Funds"
9) Sunset & Audit of State Boards & Commissions
10) Consolidation of Services
11) Health care contributions for Legislators
12) Ban Political Contributions and Gifts During Procurement Process
Corbett offers more details about the reform package at his Web site,

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pennsylvania State Budget Facts 2010

If you're looking for an objective look at spending in Pennsylvania, The Commonwealth Foundation is your best source of information.

The Commonwealth Foundation has released two new analyses of the Pennsylvania State Budget.
Pennsylvania State Budget Overview

* Think the state budget is only $29 billion? You might be surprised to learn that the total Pennsylvania operating budget is $66 billion, or $5,300 for every man, woman, and child.

* Think that the state government has a balanced budget, and therefore doesn't borrow like the federal government? Wrong! Pennsylvania state debt is $42 billion, an increase of 78% since Gov. Rendell took office. The state budget now includes over $1 billion on debt payments alone.
Get the Pennsylvania state budget overview here
Pennsylvania Spending by Department

* Have you heard that Gov. Rendell has slashed spending to the bone? In reality, he has increased the General Fund budget by 45%, or $9 billion, since taking office, more than double the rate of inflation.

* Think public schools and welfare are underfunded? Under Gov. Rendell, state spending on K-12 education increased 46%, and on Public Welfare by 68%
Get the facts on the state budget by department

For more on the Pennsylvania State Budget, visit

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sen. Rafferty calls for reform of PA beer sales laws

At a rally Tuesday at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, state Sen. John Rafferty (R-44) joined consumers, grocery and convenience store owners and others who say it is time for Pennsylvania to join 46 other states in reforming its beer sales laws.

Rafferty has introduced legislation that would provide consumers with greater convenience in purchasing beer and at the same time strengthen enforcement of beer sales laws.

From a release issued by Rafferty's office:
"It's time for Pennsylvania to move from an antiquated and unsafe system to one that is modern, safer and customer-friendly," Rafferty said. "Consumers should not be forced to purchases cases or kegs of beer if they desire a lesser amount. This proposal has overwhelming public support, and it will also help to crack down on underage beer sales through tougher enforcement."

Rafferty's bill would allow consumers to purchases six-packs in grocery and conveniences stores as well as at distributors. It would also require 100 percent "carding" for all beer sales with electronic age verification machines to ensure that minors are not purchasing alcohol illegally.

Rafferty's legislation would also provide for strengthened enforcement efforts and age compliance checks – to be funded through a $25,000 license conversion fee and annual fees of $2,500 which will generate millions of dollars annually.

More than four years ago, as chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Rafferty conducted statewide hearings on underage drinking which focused on how minors obtained alcohol.

Rafferty said that 100 percent carding for all beer sales works. Since Market Café Restaurants at Wegmans began selling beer in May 2008, there have been more than 760,000 transactions with no violations. All sales are subject to the company's 100 percent carding policy.

"Selling beer, including Pennsylvania-produced microbrews, in stores gives consumers greater choices, and the protections in this bill will actually help to stop sales to minors," Rafferty said. "This is a slow transition from an unsafe antiquated system to a new modern system used in 46 other states – and one that Pennsylvania consumers are demanding."

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Report: $1 Cigarette Tax Would Raise $293M for PA

Pity the poor smoker. Banished from public buildings and most workplace, a new national polls finds 67 percent of voters support additional taxes on tobacco to pay for health programs.

But what happens when the price of cigarettes becomes so prohibitive that people stop smoking ... and paying taxes on tobacco?

New Report: $1 Cigarette Tax Increase Would Raise $292.9 Million for Pennsylvania and Cut Youth Smoking

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rendell proposes expansion of state sales tax to cover years of deficit spending

It was classic Ed Rendell today as the governor delivered his eighth -- and final -- budget to the Pennsylvania Legislature. Having run out of things to tax, Rendell proposed expanding the state sales tax to cover more items.

Rendell and his lockstep Democrats in the Legislature have repeatedly opposed expansion of the sales tax to cover services when it was attached to a plan to eliminate property taxes. That's what Republican state Rep. Sam Rohrer has been pushing for years.

But now that Rendell has run out of opportunities to raise other taxes, he needs the expanded sales tax to fund his $29 billion spending plan and pay for years of deficit spending.

Despite running up huge deficits in the past two budgets, Rendell wants to increase state spending by $1.1 billion for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Rendell wants to pay for the spending by using $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds, which may or may not be approved by Congress. (Imagine what will happen to "stimulus" handouts when Republicans take back control of Congress in November.)

And Rendell is leaving with a final "up yours" to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Having presided over a massive expansion of state spending over the past eight years -- $9 billion and counting -- Rendell warned lawmakers that Pennsylvania is facing a "fiscal tsunami" -- a potential $5.6 billion deficit from the 2011 expiration of federal stimulus money and the ticking time bomb of public pension obligations.

It's basic economics. You can't spend what you don't have and Rendell (with the Legislature as his accomplice) has been spending money the state doesn't have. The chickens will come home to roost. Unfortunately for Pennsylvania taxpayers, Rendell will have flown the coop.

Rendell wants to reduce the state sales tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent, but expand it to more than 70 services currently exempt (lawyer and accountant fees, dry cleaning, for example) and items such as firewood, candy, gum, bottled water, magazinies and "personal hygiene" products. (Groceries, clothing and prescription drugs would remain exempt from the sales tax under Rendell's plan).

Rep. Rohrer has proposed a similar plan, but it would lead to the elimination of the state's onerous property tax. Taxpayers would come out ahead under Rohrer's plan. Rendell simply wants more money from taxpayers to cover up his deficit spending.

The state finished with a $3.25 billion deficit for the 2008-09 fiscal year and is looking at a minimum $500 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

In addition to expanding the sales tax, Rendell wants to extend the tobacco tax to include cigars and smokeless tobacco products and enact a new severance tax on natural gas extraction.

Will any of these taxes pass? Rendell is not running for re-election. He doesn't care. But all 203 members of the state House and 25 of the 50 members of the state Senate face the voters in 2010. How many of them are going to vote for one of the largest tax increases in Pennsylvania history?

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Shocker: Rep. John Murtha dies at 77

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that Pennsylvania's longest serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the controversial John Murtha, died Monday of complications from recent gall bladder surgery.

From the Tribune-Review:
U.S. Rep. John Murtha, the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania history, died today at 1:18 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., his office announced today.

He was 77.

Murtha had been hospitalized since Tuesday with an infection that arose from gallbladder surgery in late January.

Murtha was first elected to the U.S. House in February, 1974, and became the longest-serving congressman on Saturday. He served since 1989 as chairman or ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

His family was at his bedside when he died, said spokesman Matthew Mazonkey.
The Associated Press released a quick video about his death.

Murtha is frequently cited by watchdog groups as the worst offender in Congress of pork barrel spending. He was recently named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Slot Machine Revenue in PA Increases 39% in January

The nine slot machine facilities operating in Pennsylvania collectively generated $184.2 million in gross revenue in January compared to $132.3 million in January 2009 when seven casinos were in operation, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Slot Machine Revenue in Pennsylvania Increases 39% in January

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PA Business Community Says 'No State Budget Groundhog Day'

From the Pennsylvania Competitive Council:
More than 30 business organizations representing nearly 5 million non-farm, non-government private sector jobs assembled in the state capitol rotunda on Groundhog Day to say, "We don't want to wake up morning after morning to the same news in 2010!" The Groundhog Day reference to the Bill Murray movie that made Punxsutawney world famous was used by business leaders to remind lawmakers and Governor Rendell that another late budget with increased spending and higher taxes would not be acceptable to them.

"In 2009, we suffered a protracted budget process that went 101 days beyond the deadline. The gap between spending and expected revenues was filled with new and additional taxes that will cost the Pennsylvania business community about $2 billion over the next five years before modest – but much needed – tax reforms really take effect," said Pennsylvania Business Council President & CEO David W. Patti.
Read the full release at the link below:

Pennsylvania Business Community Says 'No State Budget Groundhog Day'

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Monday, February 1, 2010

PA budget debt tops $374 million

Pennsylvania collected $2.1 billion in General Fund revenue in January, which was $120.2 million, or 5.4 percent, less than anticipated, Acting Secretary of Revenue C. Daniel Hassell announced Monday.

Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $14.5 billion, which is $374.4 million, or 2.5 percent, below estimate, according to Hassell.

The 2009-10 fiscal year began July 1, 2009, but the state Legislature was 101 days late in approving the spending plan.

Pennsylvania has posted deficits for six consecutive months and will finish the fiscal year on June 30, 2010, at least $500 million to $1 billion in the red.

While that's a lot better than the 2009-09 fiscal year, in which the state finished $3.25 billion in the hole, it still shows the fiscal irresponsibility of Gov. Ed Rendell and the current leadership of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

From the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
Sales tax receipts totaled $790.5 million for January, $49.5 million below estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $4.8 billion, which is $230.7 million, or 4.6 percent, less than anticipated.

Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in January was $1 billion, $51.7 million below estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $5.3 billion, which is $163.4 million, or 3 percent, below estimate.

January corporation tax revenue of $101 million was $3.2 million below estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $1.2 billion, which is $4.1 million, or 0.3 percent, below estimate.

Other General Fund revenue figures for the month included $50.4 million in inheritance tax, $9.9 million below estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $425.7 million, which is $3.3 million below estimate.

Realty transfer tax was $16.6 million for January, $6.6 million below estimate, bringing the total to $178.3 million for the year, which is $3.3 million more than anticipated.

Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage and liquor taxes totaled $100.1 million for the month, $2.1 million above estimate and bringing the year-to-date total to $694.8 million, which is $32.3 million above estimate.
For more revenue figures, follow the link below:

Revenue Department Releases January Collections

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

F&M Poll: Bleak news for Obama, Democrats

What's on the minds of Pennsylvania voters?

The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll has the answers ... and the news is bleak for Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Among the poll highlights:
1) Pennsylvanians continue to express pessimism about the economy. Four in ten (40% compared to 36% in October) say they are financially worse off this year than last, and only a quarter (27%) expects their personal finances to be better off a year from now.

2) Among registered Democrats, Senator Specter leads Joe Sestak (30% to 13%) in the primary race for U.S. Senate, although 50 percent remain undecided. In possible general election match-ups, Pat Toomey leads both Specter (45% to 31%) and Sestak (41% to 19%) among likely voters. Registered Pennsylvanians cite health care (29%) and the economy (24%) as the most important issues in their vote for U.S. Senate.

3) Nearly three in four (72%) Pennsylvania Democrats remain undecided about the primary race for governor. Tom Corbett leads Sam Rohrer (23% to 5%) among Republicans for the gubernatorial nomination, but seven in ten (69%) remain undecided about their preference. Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy (26%) and taxes (13%) as the most important issues in their vote for governor.

4) Favorability ratings for President Obama have changed slightly since October. His unfavorable rating increased by 5 percentage points, and he is now viewed favorably and unfavorably by equal proportions (44%) of registered Pennsylvanians. Senator Specter's favorability rating has risen slightly to 35 percent (compared to 28% in October), and his unfavorable rating stands at 43 percent (compared to 46% in October).

5) President Obama's job approval in Pennsylvania is the lowest of his presidency, with only 38 percent (compared to 40% in October) saying he is doing an excellent or good job. Senator Specter's job approval has risen slightly to 34 percent (compared to 29% in October), and about three in ten (29%) respondents say he deserves re-election (up from 23% in October). Those who say Specter does not deserve re-election cite his length of service (25%) and party switch (21%) as the main reasons.

6) Pennsylvanians continue to express dissatisfaction with the direction of the state, albeit less so than in October. 53 percent now say the state is off on the wrong track (compared to 60% in October), while 39 percent say the state is headed in the right direction (compared to 32% in October). Nearly eight in ten (78%) registered Pennsylvanians feel state government needs reform, and a similar number (72%) would favor a constitutional convention to review the state's constitution.

7) The job approval rating of the state legislature remains very low with only 16 percent of registered Pennsylvanians indicating it’s doing an excellent or good job, while 74 percent indicate it's doing only a fair or poor job. These figures have changed little since October.
Complete results can be found at

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Franco Harris, Ana Ortiz help publicize 2010 Census

Gov. Ed Rendell has named Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris and actress Ana Ortiz of television's "Ugly Betty" to co-chair an advisory panel to ensure compliance with the 2010 Census.

"Each year, more than $400 billion in federal funds are allocated based in all or in part on the results of the Census," Rendell said. "That's more than $4 trillion over a 10-year period for critical things like schools, senior centers, job training centers, bridges, highways, public transit, and local emergency response services and training – a larger amount than many people realize."

Rendell said Pennsylvania cannot afford for any resident to skip participating in the Census, which involves answering only 10 questions and takes just 10 minutes to complete.

"According to the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pennsylvania's population in the 2000 Census was undercounted by 102,000 peoplem," Rendell said. "That's the equivalent of missing the cities of Altoona and Lancaster combined, or failing to count the entire city of Erie. We cannot let that happen again; there is too much at stake."

Read the full release at the link below:

Governor Rendell Enlists Franco Harris, Actress Ana Ortiz, Local Leaders to Help PA Ensure Complete, Accurate 2010 Census

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PA Lawmakers Stand for Health Care Freedom

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)— the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators — congratulates Pennsylvania State Reps. Matthew Baker and Curt Schroder for filing House Bills 2053 and 2179, which protect the right of individuals to make their own health care choices.

Pennsylvania joins 31 other states where legislators have introduced, or will introduce, legislation modeled after ALEC's Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, according to a press release issued today by ALEC.

Under the legislation, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance — or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the required health care system — would be rendered unconstitutional. The measure may also cause a federalism clash if Congress passes a law with either of these provisions.

Baker and Schroder will hold a joint press conference Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to discuss their efforts.

Read the rest of the ALEC press release at the link below:

Pennsylvania Legislators Stand for Health Care Freedom

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Pennsylvania Game Commissioners Propose 2010-11 Seasons and Bag Limits

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pennsylvania Unemployment Rises to 8.9%

Remember all the hoopla by Gov. Ed Rendell when the Pennsylvania unemployment rate dropped a little last month?

Don't expect Rendell to be found today as the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announces that unemployment in Pennsylvania has risen to 8.9 percent in December. That's the state's highest unemployment level in 25 years.

Pennsylvania employers shed more than 8,100 jobs in December. Pennsylvania has lost 150,300 jobs since December 2008.

From a Department of Labor press release:
Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted civilian labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work -- decreased by 19,000 in December to 6,310,000. Resident employment dropped 37,000 in December, while unemployment was up 19,000. The Pennsylvania labor force was down 131,000 from December 2008.

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in December, up four-tenths of a percentage point from November. The state rate remained below the national unemployment rate, which remained at 10 percent in December.
Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: December 2009

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

That's why they call it gambling

You live by gambling, you die by gambling. Remember how gambling was the magic bullet that was going to cure all of Atlantic City's (and New Jersey's) fiscal woes?

New figures show revenue at Atlantic City casinos down by more than 13 percent in 2009 as Pennsylvania slot parlors continue to eat into A.C.'s profits. Now that Pennsylvania has approved table games like poker and blackjack for its slot parlors, look for a more dramatic decline in Atlantic City casino revenues.

And as more states approve gambling, Pennsylvania will eventually see a decline as states chase the same gambling dollar.

On Monday, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission released figures showing revenue for Atlantic City's 11 casinos was down 13.2% in 2009 to $3.9 billion, the lowest levels seen since 1997.

"The numbers released today are no big surprise," commented Steve Schwartz, a Gaming Analyst. "The casino industry as a whole has been suffering through the recession in the US, and those troubles were most visible in Atlantic City and Las Vegas."

Originally, Atlantic City had only Las Vegas to compete against in the casino business, but recently has had to endure Pennsylvania slowly eating away at its profit margins, since it opened up its first slots parlor in November 2006. Last week's news that Pennsylvania was about to pass a Gambling Bill legalizing table games like poker and blackjack at its casinos, will have added further to Atlantic City's woes. Pennsylvania was forced into the move in order to help generate $250 million in revenue so as to balance its state budget, all representing a loss of potential profit for Atlantic City.
Read the full story here.

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'State Pension Funds Fall Off a Cliff'

State employee pension systems are facing severe shortfalls, and these growing liabilities threaten to drive many states deeper into the red, according to "State Pension Funds Fall Off a Cliff," a new 50 state study co-authored by Dr. Barry Poulson of the University of Colorado and Dr. Arthur P. Hall of the University of Kansas.

The report, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nation's largest individual membership association of state legislators, shows that as of 2006, states have accumulated nearly $360 billion in unfunded pension obligations.

The problem has gotten much over the past three years as politicians on both sides of the aisle have stuck their head in the sand instead of dealing with the ticking time bomb.

Pennsylvania is among the states that has swept the pension issue under the rug, especially over the past seven years under Gov. Ed Rendell. The ALEC report says Pennsylvania had $14.4 billion in unfunded pension liabilities on top of $8.8 billion in state debt. And keep in mind that these are 2006 figures.

Follow the link below for more information and a link to download the full report.

Pension Crisis Threatens Financial Health of States

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

What 1,000 Pounds of Butter Look Like

A sculpture made from nearly 1,000 pounds of butter that pays tribute to dairy farm families was unveiled today at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which will open Jan. 9. For more photos and more information about the Farm Show, follow the link below:

Huge Butter Sculpture Pays Tribute to PA Dairy Farm Families, Industry

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Free H1N1 Flu Vaccinations on Friday

Monday, January 4, 2010

Leaving Pennsylvania

Allied Van Lines has released its 42nd Annual Magnet States Report, which tracks where people are moving to and from across the United States.

Texas is the No. 1 destination spot in U.S. for fifth year in a row, followed by Arizona and North Carolina.

Pennsylvania is No. 3 on the list of "outbound" states. In other words, more people leave Pennsylvania than move into the state. This is not a new trend. It's been occurring ever since Gov. Ed Rendell and his allies in Harrisburg started raising taxes and running up huge deficits.

From the Allied Van Lines report:
Michigan experienced the highest net relocation losses (more outbound than inbound shipments), followed by Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. A troubled auto industry and housing market most likely continued to negatively affect relocations to Michigan, as Allied Van Lines' outbound shipments of 2,210 were about double its inbound shipments of 1,019 for the state. Illinois experienced the second largest net relocation loss with 942 more outbound than inbound moves, closely followed by Pennsylvania with a net relocation loss of 854, and California with a loss of 459.
Read the full report at the link below:

Allied Van Lines Announces 42nd Annual Magnet States Report

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State Police: 6 Killed in PA New Year's Crashes

Six people were killed in crashes investigated by Pennsylvania State Police during the four-day New Year's holiday travel period, which ran from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3, Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski announced Monday.

Five of those killed were not wearing seatbelts and four of the deaths resulted from alcohol-related crashes, he said.

"Too many lives are lost because people drive after they've been drinking or because they do not buckle up when they travel," Pawlowski said in a written statement.

He said that in addition to the six fatalities, 288 other people were injured in the 1,131 crashes to which troopers responded during the holiday driving period. He said 95 of the crashes were alcohol-related.

Read the full release at the link below:

PA State Police: Six Killed in New Year's Driving Period Crashes


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Corbett, 12 other AGs threaten lawsuit against Obamacare

Could the U.S. Supreme Court end up deciding the fate of Obamacare?

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett and 12 other Republican attorney generals have threatened a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Senate health care bill.

In a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said he had "grave concerns" about the deal Senate leaders cut with Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson to secure his crucial vote for the health care package.

"The current iteration of the bill contains a provision that affords special treatment to the state of Nebraska under the federal Medicaid program," writes McMaster. "We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed. As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision."

"In addition to violating the most basic and universally held notions of what is fair and just, we also believe this provision of H.R. 3590 is inconsistent with protections afforded by the United States Constitution against arbitrary legislation," writes McMaster.
Read the full story at

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dick Thornburgh: Abolish PA Turnpike Commission

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh, writing at The Commonwealth Foundation Web site, makes a strong case for getting rid of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which he says is "a dumping ground for the institutionalized entitlement."

From Thornburgh's column:
During my campaign for governor more than 32 years ago, I made a pledge to restore integrity and efficiency to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

At the time, 40 percent of our roads and 25 percent of our bridges were in substandard condition. It was widely acknowledged that PennDOT served as a patronage dump; I went so far as to label it the "home of the three Ps – payoffs, patronage and potholes." It was clear that fixing PennDOT was a necessity.

The residents of the commonwealth agreed, having faith in my pledge, and elected me governor. Shortly after beginning my first term, I began a thorough reconstruction of PennDOT.

Working with state Secretary of Transportation (and future Federal Highway Administration head) Tom Larson, I ignored all threats of political retribution and scrubbed PennDOT clean of graft and corruption. The difficult task of fixing PennDOT was a resounding success. In 1981 PennDOT was recognized as "one of the best managed – and financed – public works agencies in the country" by trade magazines.

Larson was recognized by one publication as its Man of the Year. That was nearly 30 years ago.

Today the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) has replaced PennDOT as a dumping ground for the institutionalized entitlement we helped eradicate.
Read the full column, "A Road to Savings: Abolish the PA Turnpike Commission," at The Commonwealth Foundation's Web site.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Auditor General Jack Wagner Calls for Passage of Food Safety Legislation

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Highway Renamed in Honor of Slain State Trooper

Rendell To Ring In New Year With Layoffs?

Pennsylvania has lost more than 105,000 jobs in the past year alone, so why is Ed Rendell in such a hurry to lay off more state workers?

Taht's what columnist Kevin Cramsey is wondering, too.

From a new column at Harrisburg
The administration's head count is something like 721, but it doesn't include 60 or so who were offered up from the treasury and another 100-150 teachers, administrators and others who were cast out when Rendell ordered the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to shutter the Scotland School for Veterans Children. There's probably more casualties out there if look hard enough.

Curiously, though the governor fusses and worries about state revenues being down due to a bad economy, he's willing to worsen the state's unemployment picture by putting even more people out of work and overtaxing the state's unemployment compensation fund.
Read the full column at the link below:

Rendell to ring in new year with layoffs?

Posted using ShareThis

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Rodents in Harrisburg (and they weren't elected)

This might explain why Pennsylvania lawmakers usually eat out or have catered meals brought in.

From The Associated Press:
Mice infestation shuts down Pa. Capitol cafeteria

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The cafeteria in Pennsylvania's Capitol was shut down and workers scoured the facility Friday after health inspectors found evidence of a rodent infestation and dishwashing water that wasn't hot enough.

The ground-floor cafeteria, a popular coffee and lunch spot for visitors to the statehouse and people who work there, was closed Thursday after state Department of Agriculture officials made an unannounced inspection.

"There were mouse droppings around the facility too numerous to mention," said Justin Fleming, a spokesman for the state Agriculture Department.

The droppings, which indicate the presence of live mice, are considered an imminent health risk, Fleming said. A leak that prevented the water in dishwashers from becoming hot enough to sterilize plates and utensils also was considered an imminent threat, he said.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

PA Highway System Ranks 38th in Nation

Anyone who has ever driven in Pennsylvania or anyone who has examined how much money PennDOT spends each year will not be surprised at the results of a new study.

Reason Foundation's 18th Annual Highway Report ranks Pennsylvania 38 in a listing of the nation's most cost-effective state-owned highway system.

The state's roads and bridges have been neglected by the Rendell Administration for the past seven years, while the Governor of Philadelphia has siphoned off money to pay union fat cats and prop up failing mass transit systems.

Study Ranks State Highway Systems: North Dakota, New Mexico Top the List While New York, New Jersey, and California Are Among the Worst

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

PA Tax Delinquent List Grows

Some 244 businesses on the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue's tax delinquent list owe the state more than $8 million, according to Revenue Secretary Stephen H. Stetler.

"These businesses collected taxes from their customers and employees but failed to send the money to the commonwealth," Stetler said in a prepared statement. "I encourage taxpayers to visit the department's Web site -- -- to see the list of delinquent businesses."

From the Department of Revenue:
Thirty-two new delinquent taxpayers were added to the list this month, including: Allegheny Answering Services, Pittsburgh ($117,120.38); Petz Unlimited Inc., Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County ($17,381.60); Urology Group Inc., Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County ($33,980.60); Edwin C. Hill dba Hills Auto Repair, Altoona, Blair County ($7,832.51); Energetics Mechanical Inc., Easton, Northampton County ($8,977.58); and EMS Management Systems Inc., Kingston, Luzerne County ($38,009.86).

The list includes businesses that owe sales and/or employer withholding taxes. Since the list debuted in April 2006, 509 of the 753 businesses, or 67.6 percent, that appeared on the list have been removed because they paid taxes in full, committed to deferred payment plans or went out of business.
Businesses on Pennsylvania's Tax Delinquent List Now Owe $8 Million; 32 Firms Added to List

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Jan. 1 deadline for PA dog licenses

A reminder from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:
Dog owners across Pennsylvania are reminded to apply for mandatory 2010 dog licenses before the Jan. 1 deadline, Deputy Secretary for Dog Law Enforcement Jessie Smith said.

"Obtaining a license is a quick, easy way to help ensure the safety of man's best friend," said Smith. "Not only can a license be a passport home for lost dogs, license fees collected help us to ensure humane conditions are provided for dogs in kennels."

State law requires that all dogs three months or older be licensed by Jan. 1 each year. An annual license is $8 and a lifetime license is $51. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6 while a lifetime license is $31. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities.

All dogs must be licensed. Failure to license a dog is a summary offense and could result in a maximum fine of $300 for each unlicensed dog.

Fees collected through dog licensing are used by the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement to protect the health, safety and welfare of dogs. More than 930,000 licenses were obtained in 2009.

License applications are available at county treasurer's offices. A list of county treasurers and a downloadable license application is available online at under "Forms."


Friday, December 11, 2009

Public Comment Invited on Pennsylvania State Passenger, Freight Rail Plan

America's Best High Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., is at the top of the third annual U.S. News & World Report's America's Best High Schools rankings.

Only one high school from Pennsylvania's 676 schools made the Top 100 -- Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia -- ranked at No. 45.

The magazine awards gold, silver and bronze designations for high schools. Pennsylvania ranked No. 25 among the 50 states, with 1 gold, 16 silver and 69 bronze awards.

Read more at the link below or go directly to the list of the Top 100 here.

U.S. News Media Group Names 2010 America's Best High Schools

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

National Report: Pennsylvania Drops from 26th to 34th in Funding Programs to Protect Kids from Tobacco

Online applications being accepted for all state jobs

Pennsylvania residents looking for work (and we know there's plenty of you out there) can now apply for state jobs online, according to state Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24th Dist).

As of Dec. 9, paper applications are being phased out and online applications are now being accepted at for all non-civil service positions. On-line applications for civil service jobs are already accepted at

Non-civil service positions make up about 30 percent of the state's workforce and are typically non-technical and non-professional jobs.

"This process is quicker and more convenient for everyone involved," Mensch said. "Applicants can file from their homes or from public computers at libraries and PA CareerLink sites. They can do so at a time that best suits them and they should have easy access to all of the background information they may need to complete their applications."

More information about state jobs, including salaries and benefits, is also available at

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States Don't Make Grade With Charter School Laws, Report Shows

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

PA issues warning about H1N1 e-mail scam

This consumer warning issued today by the Pennsylvania Department of Health:
The Pennsylvania Department of Health urges computer users not to open a fraudulent e-mail that claims to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and asks individuals to create a "personal H1N1 vaccination profile."

Anyone receiving this e-mail should not open it and delete it immediately. The fraudulent e-mail links to a fake Web site that attempts to collect personal information. Clicking on the embedded link in the e-mail puts users at risk of having a malicious code installed on their computer.

Some Pennsylvanians have coincidentally received this e-mail after registering for the Department of Health's H1N1 vaccine clinics, but there is no relation. Pennsylvania's online vaccine registration system is safe to use and does not ask registrants to provide any personal information other than their name.
For additional information, call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or visit


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Costly Recount = Same Results

Anne E. Lazarus of Philadelphia won the fourth open seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court, according to a recount conducted in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

Lazarus was also the winner on Nov. 3, but one of the losing candidates refused to waive his right to a recount based on the vote margin, triggering the costly recount.

The final cost of the recount will not be known until all counties submit requests for payment, says Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes, but the secretary earlier estimated the cost at $1.3 million.

Unofficial returns previously reported by the counties indicated Lazarus had won, but three other candidates trailed her by less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for the office, according to Cortes.

The close margin triggered a recount in all 67 counties -- the first required by 2004 amendments to Pennsylvania's Election Code, Cortes said.

"I am encouraged that the state's first recount confirmed the election was conducted in a fair and accurate manner," Cortes said.

The returns provided by the counties in the recount are as follows:
* Judy Olson: 954,065
* Sallie Mundy: 870,091
* Paula Ott: 807,327
* Anne E. Lazarus: 726,917
* Robert J. Colville: 724,830
* Temp Smith: 723,117
* Kevin Francis McCarthy: 714,237
* Teresa Sarmina: 690,682
* Marakay Rogers: 127,492
The top four candidates win seats. The losing candidate who asked for the recount was Temp Smith.

Lazarus actually moved up one spot in the final vote tally. She came in fourth in the Nov. 3 vote count, but edged Rogert J. Colville in the recount numbers.

A variety of factors contributed to minor differences between the vote totals calculated in the recount and those reported in unofficial returns, most notably absentee ballots, military overseas ballots and provisional ballots, Cortes said.


Friday, November 20, 2009

PA Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States

Working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in state and local taxes than their wealthiest counterparts, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy.

Other highlights (or low lights) from the study:
* Pennsylvania families earning less than $19,000 - the poorest fifth of Pennsylvania taxpayers - pay 11.3% of their income in Pennsylvania state and local taxes.

* Middle-income Pennsylvania taxpayers - those earning between $35,000 and $56,000 - pay 9.6% of their income in Pennsylvania state and local taxes.

* The richest Pennsylvania taxpayers - with average incomes of $1,369,600 - pay only 5% of their income in Pennsylvania state and local taxes.

* After accounting for federal deduction offsets, the discrepancy is even starker: the poorest fifth pay 11.2% of their income in state and local taxes, middle-income families pay 9.1%, and the richest Pennsylvanians pay 3.9%.

* Washington, Florida, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Alabama were named as the 10 Most Regressive Tax States. Pennsylvania ranked ninth.
The review the entire report, "Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States," follow the link below:

New Report Ranks Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States

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PA urges hunters to share their bounty

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Costly Recount

Republican Temp Smith finished 3,534 off the pace for four open seats on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, but he wants a recount. That will cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $1.3 million.

Let me go out on a limb and predict that Smith will still finish sixth in the race where the top four candidates get seats on the court.

Two other candidates, including one who finished higher than Smith, waived their right to a recount but state law says all candidates must agree to opt out ... or an automatic recount kicks in.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes Orders Recount in Close Superior Court Election


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recount in tight judicial race to cost PA $1.3 Million

They say every vote counts.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes announced Tuesday that final unofficial returns from Pennsylvania's 67 counties show the race for a fourth Superior Court seat is so close that it will trigger an automatic recount.

The recount will cost taxpayers at least $1.3 million. Now, aren't you sorry you didn't bother to vote on Nov. 3? You know who you are.

Act 97 of 2004 provides that any statewide race or ballot question where the margin of victory was less than one half of one percent of the total number of votes cast for that office or ballot question would automatically trigger a recount in all 67 counties, according to Cortes.

If a Superior Court recount is required, it would be the first one in the act's brief history, Cortes said.

Four seats on the Superior Court were open this year. Judy Olson, Sallie Mundy, Paula Ott and Anne E. Lazarus received the four highest vote totals on Election Day.

The unofficial returns provided by the counties show three candidates are within the one-half of one percent margin for that fourth seat:

• Anne E. Lazarus - 723,954 (11.465%)
• Robert J. Colville - 721,948 (11.434%, trails Lazarus by 0.032%)
• Temp Smith - 720,624 (11.413%, trails Lazarus by 0.053%)
• Kevin Francis McCarthy - 711,240 (11.264%, trails Lazarus by 0.201%)

• Sum of all votes - 6,314,250
• One-half of 1 percent - 31,571

Cortes indicated the recount may begin as soon as Nov. 16, unless all the defeated candidates request in writing that a recount not be made.

Robert J. Colville and Kevin Francis McCarthy submitted to the Secretary such a letter Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 respectively. Both Colville and McCarthy stated they would opt out only if the other trailing candidates decided not to pursue a recount as well. So it's all up to Temp Smith (if that is his real name).

If a recount is necessary, state law requires the counties to complete the recount by Nov. 25 and to report the results to the Department of State by noon, Nov. 30.

Unofficial Returns Received from Pennsylvania Counties in Close Superior


20 More Weeks of Unemployment Benefits for 35,000 Pennsylvanians

Monday, November 9, 2009

Taxpayer March on Harrisburg Nov. 14

From our friends at POLICY BLOG:
Join Pennsylvania Tea Party Coalition, Smart Girl Politics, Freedomworks, and other organizations for a Nov. 14 "March on Harrisburg" to take our message of fiscal responsibility and lower taxes directly to state lawmakers. Please join us for a big march and rally on the capitol steps in Harrisburg!

Who: Coalition of Tea Party groups and taxpayer advocates
What: March on Harrisburg (State Capitol Steps)
When: Saturday, Nov. 14th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Why: To send a message to state lawmakers that we support limited government and lower taxes

FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey will be the keynote speaker at the state capitol.

To RSVP for the March on Harrisburg, click here. For more details on the march, check out

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Toomey on Tuesday's election results

Commenting on Tuesday's repudiation of the Obama presidency, Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey said the election results show voters oppose the extreme big-government policies of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

From Toomey's statement:
"Last night, election results around the country and in Pennsylvania demonstrate that the tide is turning against big-government, big-spending policies. In Pennsylvania, six out of seven Republican judicial candidates were victorious in their statewide bids.

Congratulations to all of our great Republican candidates who won yesterday in Pennsylvania That tells us there is real energy in our state party, which will only continue to grow into next year."
Toomey said he was pleased with the results from neighboring New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie upset the Obama-backed candidate, liberal Gov. Jon Corzine, and also applauded the outcome in Virginia, where the GOP candidate won the governor's race by a large margin.

“For nearly a year, the one-party monopoly in Washington has been pushing extreme policies on the American people, including government-run health care, unprecedented spending increases, and record deficit and debt levels," Toomey said. "Yesterday, voters made their voices heard. It's time we stopped the parade of bailouts, government takeovers, and record-breaking spending, and replaced it with commonsense reforms that do not bankrupt our country.”

For more about Toomey, visit his campaign Web site at

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gov. Rendell signs 99th Death Warrant

Gov. Ed Rendell signed two more death warrants this week, bringing the number signed during his tenure as governor to 99. And the number of death row inmates executed since Rendell became governor remains at 0.

In fairness, it's not Rendell's fault that nobody has been executed in Pennsylvania for decades. You can thank liberal judges who refuse to uphold the law and allow executions to take place.

Governor Rendell Signs Warrants for John Amos Small and Antoine Ligons

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

PA unemployment rate hits 8.8%

Pennsylvania employers shed another 10,300 jobs in September, according to new employment figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

The Rendell Administration is attempting to put the best possible spin on the continuing bad news by pointing out that Pennsylvania's 8.8% unemployment rate "remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which rose one-tenth of a point to 9.8 percent."

Doesn't that make you feel better, especially if your unemployment benefits are about to run out?

The bottom line is that Ed Rendell, Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats have done a terrible job dealing with economic issues, resulting in record unemployment.

From the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry:
Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted civilian labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work -- rose by 9,000 in September to 6,368,000.

Employment was unchanged in September, while resident unemployment rose by 9,000.

The Pennsylvania labor force was down 55,000 from September 2008.

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.8 percent in September.

The state rate remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which rose one-tenth of a point to 9.8 percent.

Pennsylvania's rate was up 3.2 percentage points from September 2008, while the U.S. rate was up 3.6 percentage points in the 12-month period.

Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs count dropped by 10,300 jobs in September.

The majority of the job losses were among service providing industries, however, the Professional and Business Services sector added 2,700 jobs.

Pennsylvania job count was down 198,100, or 3.4 percent, since September 2008. Nationally, jobs were down 4.2 percent over the same time period.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gerlach: PA budget impasse a 'national embarrassment'

Jim Gerlach, a Republican candidate for governor, said on Thursday that Pennsylvania's broken budget process has become a national embarrassment.

On the 100th day of the state's budget impasse, Gerlach said this would never happen if he was sitting in the governor's mansion.

"We do not need to waste any more time playing political games and pointing fingers," Gerlach said in a written statement. "This dysfunctional process has resulted in a 100-day delay in enacting a budget. The Harrisburg culture of putting self-interest ahead of the public interest must end. The families of Pennsylvania understand the importance of paying your bills on time and not spending more than you can afford. For far too long Harrisburg has ignored these basic principles.

"That's why I was the first candidate for governor to propose moving to a a two-year budget cycle to cut costs, increase accountability and avoid the annual budget soap opera, which for the last seven years has resulted in increased government spending and higher taxes. And we must stop rewarding politicians in Harrisburg for failure. If the state cannot meet the Constitutional requirement of enacting a budget by July 1st of each year, then the Governor, his Cabinet and lawmakers should lose a day's pay for every day the fail to pass a budget."

In September, Gerlach released a 17-point "Pledge to Pennsylvania" that is a contract to protect taxpayers and send a very clear message that the days of rewarding failure, ignoring runaway spending and tolerating a lack of accountability in Harrisburg are over.

The entire "Pledge to Pennsylvania" is available at his campaign Web site,

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PA launches Web Site to commemorate 150th Anniversary of Civil War

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission today unveiled plans for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, including the launch of

The Commission also announced a full slate of special events and traveling exhibits "highlighting the state's paramount role in the war."

Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is a unified, statewide alliance that will attract visitors and enrich their experience county by county through remarkable programming for the sesquicentennial commemoration, according to a Commission press release.

"While many of the great battles of the Civil War were epic in nature, the story of this war in Pennsylvania is much more than just tactics and strategy," said Barbara Franco, executive director of PHMC. "The Civil War also is the story of individual soldiers and of women and children struggling to survive in small towns and family farms all across the state and of African Americans working to abolish slavery and join the United States Colored Troops."

More highlights from PA Civil War 150 launch event in Harrisburg:
·, a dynamic Web site that unlocks the incredible personal stories of Pennsylvanians both on the battlefield and at the home front, the vast Civil War collections of the state's museums and historical societies, and the state’s numerous heritage tourism attractions and trip-planning resources.

· Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show, a traveling museum experience based in a 53-foot tractor trailer that will bring interactive exhibits and unique programming to all 67 counties in the state from 2011 to 2015. The Road Show will encourage residents and organizations in each locality to share their stories and artifacts in conjunction with the traveling exhibition.

· Additional initiatives include a digitization project under the direction of Penn State University that aims to unearth and organize Civil War collections in an online format to preserve primary source materials and make them accessible to the public and to scholars. The Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh also will coordinate the publication of two books: Pennsylvania Civil War in Photographs, a collection of rarely seen photos from the Civil War era, and Pennsylvania African Americans in the Civil War Era, an account of the African American experience during the same time period.
For more information, visit


Monday, October 5, 2009

So far, only 7 PA Congressmen support '72 Hour' rule

The Democratic majority in Congress continues to reject calls to actually read bills before voting on them.

From Robert Romano of the NetRight Nation Blog:
If a growing number of House members that signed a discharge petition for H. Res. 554 have their way, every single bill in Congress will be held for least 72 business hours Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) prior to passage for a mandatory review by each house.

The discharge petition initiated by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR2) has obtained 182 signatures, including the bill's sponsor, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA3). Walden did so on the same day the Senate Finance Committee explicitly voted against allowing 72 hours to review ObamaCare once it was finally written.
Only 7 of Pennsylvania's 19 House members have signed the petition: Reps. Charlie Dent, Bill Shuster, Glenn Thompson, Todd Platts, Joe Pitts, Jim Gerlach and Tim Murphy. All 7 are Republicans.

What about your member of Congress? What are they hiding? Why do they want to rush through votes before anyone has a chance to read the bill?

For a complete list of the members of Congress who signed the petition, click here.

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PA voter registration deadline is today

Time is running out to register for the Nov. 3 General Election in Pennsylvania.

While there's no national races, you can pick the next Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and decide who runs various local, school board and county offices, including Common Pleas Court judges.

Today is the last day to register. Follow the link below for more information.

Voter Registration Deadline Is Oct. 5 for November Election


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rendell job approval sinks as budget deal unravels

It's deja vu all over again as the latest Quinnipiac University poll reveals that Pennsylvania residents still have a low regard for both Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature.

I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the three-month-old budget stalemate has something do with it.

Rendell's job approval rating remains negative, 42% approve - 51% disapprove, a slight improvement from his record low of 39% - 53% recorded July 21, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Only 26 percent of voters approve of his handling of the state budget, while 53 percent say he has been too inflexible and 30 percent call him courageous, the poll says. (The Sept. 18 budget deal reached by Rendell and leaders of three of the four legislative caucuses appears to be dead as rank-and-file lawmakers balk at the new taxes and spending cuts contained in the agreement.)

More from the Quinnipiac Poll:
Only 31 percent of voters approve of the budget agreement, while 37 percent disapprove and 31 percent aren't sure, the poll finds. Rendell is most responsible for the impasse, 27 percent say, as 21 percent blame legislative Republicans; 9 percent legislative Democrats and 30 percent say they are equally to blame.

"Gov. Ed Rendell remains at the low ebb of his governorship when it comes to public opinion, perhaps not surprising given the lengthy budget stalemate. He does better with women, who disapprove 49 - 44 percent, than with men, who disapprove 54 - 41 percent. The legislature's rating, where 27 percent approve and 64 percent disapprove, is even worse," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
For more poll analysis and to review the numbers (including who has the edge to replace Rendell next year), go to the Quinnipiac University Web site.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Voter Registration Deadline Is Oct. 5

Time is running out to register to vote in the Nov. 3 General Election.

There's no national contests, but voters can pick the next Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.

Also on the ballot are local candidates, school board candidates and some county offices, including Common Pleas Court judges.

Voter Registration Deadline Is Oct. 5 for November Election


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Check out BankruptingPA

The Commonwealth Foundation has launched a new Web site and public service campaign called BankruptingPA to educate taxpayers about "wild and unaccountable government spending."

The Foundation is looking for feedback to help it choose the most effective message and imagery to make this effort as successful as possible, says Commonwealth Foundation CEO Matthew J. Brouillette.

Visit the new Web site at, click on the "VOTE" buttons n the right side of the page and leave comments or criticisms.

"Time is of the essence. Please help us ensure BankruptingPA is successful," Brouillette adds.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

PA unemployment rate hits 8.6%

Pennsylvania lost another 8,800 jobs in August, according to new numbers released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

State officials tried to put the best possible spin on the bad news by pointing out that Pennsylvania's 8.6% unemployment rate "remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which rose three-tenths of a point to 9.7 percent in August."

Doesn't that make you feel better?

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was up 3.1 percentage points from August 2008, compared to an increase of 3.5 percentage points since August 2008 for the nation.

Since August 2008, Pennsylvania has shed 191,500 jobs!

Just a reminder that the governor of Pennsylvania is Ed Rendell, a Democrat, who has increased spending by $8 billion since 2003. Much of that spending went for various economic revitalization projects that Rendell claimed would bring more jobs to the state.

And in case you forgot, the Democrats also control both houses of Congress and the White House. If you're one of the 15 million Americans out of work, be sure to thank a Democrat in Harrisburg or Washington, D.C.

For a detailed breakdown of the employment numbers, follow the link below:

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: August 2009

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Back to the drawing board on state budget

"They made their numbers work on paper, but the numbers won't work in the real world," Gov. Ed Rendell said today of the budget agreement reached Friday by Senate Republicans and House Democrats.

Rendell said he will not sign the budget compromise if it reaches his desk. House Republicans are also opposed to the proposed budget, which is now 74 days late.

Read Rendell's full statement and his list of flaws contained in the budget deal at the link below:

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell: Legislative Budget Proposal Is Out of Balance, Fiscally Irresponsible

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

PA GOP response to Obama speech

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason issued the following statement about President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress:
"President Obama made another desperate attempt to pitch his plan for government-run, taxpayer-funded health care plan, the same plan that Americans have soundly rejected," Gleason said. "The President's speech was nothing short of a 'Hail Mary' pass made in an attempt to salvage a costly big government health care plan that most Americans do not want.

"The President's speech was short on details, and his assertion that the government can provide cheaper health care to more people than the current system without increasing the national deficit does not pass the smell test.

"Over the summer, Pennsylvanians made clear that they saw through the president's rhetoric and did not want to see a government takeover of their health care. I call on President Obama to listen to those concerns by ending his pursuit of big government programs and reach across the aisle to find solutions based on the same free market principles our country was founded upon."

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

F&M Poll: Thumbs down for Rendell, Obama, state Legislature

The respected Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds Pennsylvania residents in a foul mood over their elected representatives at the state and national level.

Some of the key findings from G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll:

Low regard for Rendell and state Legislature

1) The state budget impasse has made residents far less positive about state government and state government officials. Currently only one in three (33%) state residents believes the state is headed in the right direction. The current ratings of state government are the lowest recorded in a Franklin and Marshall College Poll, and Governor Rendell's favorability and job performance ratings are the lowest they have been since taking office in 2003. At this point, fewer than three in ten (29%) registered adults in the state say the governor is doing an excellent or good job, and ratings for the state legislature are even lower — not a single respondent rated the legislature's performance as excellent.

Specter holds shaky lead in PA Senate race; Corbett leads GOP candidates for governor

2) Senator Arlen Specter maintained his edge over Rep. Joe Sestak for the 2010 Democratic Senate primary (37% to 11%), although a significant number (46%) of Pennsylvania Democrats still do not know who they'll vote for. Tom Corbett leads the Republican field of possibilities for governor; however, that race remains wide open, with 73 percent of Pennsylvania Republicans saying they don't know for whom they will cast their vote. In a possible general election matchup for U.S. Senate, Specter leads Toomey (37% to 29%). Toomey leads in a possible matchup with Sestak (26% to 22%), although nearly half (46%) of respondents aren't sure how they would vote in that race.

Obama job approval slipping

3) While the percentage of registered Pennsylvanians holding a favorable opinion of President Barack Obama has held steady at 55 percent (compared to 56% in June), his unfavorable rating has risen to 37 percent (compared to 27% in June). For the first time in our polling, a majority of respondents believe President Obama is doing only a fair or poor job (53%), while fewer believe he is doing an excellent or good job (47%). Confidence in the president's ability to handle the economic crisis, while still strong, appears to be slipping (58% compared to 66% in June). Finally, over half (57%) of registered Pennsylvanians are skeptical of the president's ability to reform healthcare.

51% of Pennsylvanians oppose Obamacare

4) Registered Pennsylvanians appear to be following the health care debate closely. Two in three (64%) say they've heard a great deal or a fair amount about possible congressional reforms, and four in five (80%) say they've seen or heard news reports about town hall meetings. A narrow majority (51%) say they're opposed to reform proposals that have been discussed so far in Congress, and nearly half (48%) say they do not believe reforming health care will help the economy in the long run. Those in favor of current reform proposals cite helping the working and middle class uninsured as the main reason, while those opposed point to the expansion of government control through a public insurance option as their biggest concern.

Read the full poll results at

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Voter Registration Deadline Is Oct. 5 For November Election

New Pennsylvania Casinos Spur 20 Percent Revenue Increase in August

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Auditor General Jack Wagner: Sale of State Office Building Will Cost Taxpayers $55 Million

Friday, August 21, 2009

Report: Obamacare is Bad Medicine for PA

The Commonwealth Foundation has released a report showing that President Obama's proposed takeover of health care by the federal government would have dramatically negative effects on Pennsylvanians.

The report, written by a research team headed by noted economist and former presidential advisor Dr. Arthur Laffer, entitled, "The Prognosis for National Health Insurance: A Pennsylvania Perspective," finds that President Obama's health care proposal would have the following effects:
* It would add $4,453 in additional health care costs for every man, woman, and child in Pennsylvania.

* Despite the additional $1 trillion in expected health care subsidies, 30 million people nationally would remain uninsured. The cost to reduce the number of uninsured by 16 million is $62,500 per person insured.

* Pennsylvania's economic growth in 2019 compared to the baseline scenario would be reduced by 5.1 percent.
The 44-page report is available for download at The Commonwealth Foundation Web site.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The state of 'Debtsylvania'

We all know about the $3.25 billion deficit Gov. Ed Rendell ran up in the General Fund budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, but Pennsylvania is drowning in red ink when you take into account all other state and local debt.

The Commonwealth Foundation has a terrific post at its Web site about the state of "Debtsylvania."

Pennsylvanians owe $115 billion in state and local government debt, according to the Foundation, which reviewed spending from 2002 to 2008.

No surprise here, but the debt has skyrocketed during the tenure of Gov. Rendell.

"Under Governor Rendell, total state general obligation debt outstanding has increased from $6.8 billion to a projected $9.5 billion with his 2009-10 budget proposal, a 40% increase in seven years," The Foundation says.

To read the full report visit The Commonwealth Foundation Web site.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rendell Signs New EMS Law

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rendell's Bad Bites - The Sequel

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

14 PA firms make Inc. magazine list of fastest-growing private companies

Inc. magazine has published its 28th annual Inc. 500, "an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies."

This might be a sign of the awful business climate in Pennsylvania under Gov. Ed Rendell, but the Keystone State has just 14 companies listed among the Top 500. And the highest-ranked Pennsylvania firm finished at No. 82.

California tops the Inc. 500 with 84 companies; Texas places second with 45, followed by Virginia and New York with 35 each.

Here are the Pennsylvania firms and their ranking:

82. DSG, Malvern
135. Clear Align, Eagleville
141. SingleSource Property Solutions, Canonsburg
169. The Neat Company, Philadelphia
174. PriceSpective, Blue Bell
211. ACI Estate, Doylestown
221., Philadelphia
322. Geo-Solutions, New Kensington
328. Millenium Pharmacy Systems, Wexford
390. RAC Enterprise, West Hazleton
397. SoftNice, Allentown
416. AlphaCard Services, Huntington Valley
425. PeopleShare, Philadelphia
441. UniTek USA, Blue Bell

The 2009 Inc. 500 will be unveiled in the September issue of Inc. magazine available on newsstands Aug. 17, but is already posted at the magazine's Web site,

For more background on the list, follow the link below:

Inc. Magazine Unveils 28th Annual List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies - the Inc. 500

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Auditor General Jack Wagner Urges Gov. Rendell, General Assembly to Consider Suggestions to Balance Budget

Governor Rendell Signs 4 Bills

Monday, August 10, 2009

CF Action Alert: Patients First Bus Tour

Americans For Prosperity’s Patients First Bus Tour is rolling into across Pennsylvania Monday, August 10th through Saturday, August 15th. Everyone will have an opportunity to sign a petition telling the government to keep their Hands Off Our Healthcare! Look at the list of cities below and see which bus tour stop you will attend! We need to educate ourselves and our neighbors about this issue. Click here to read and print Commonwealth Foundation's Health Care Policy Points. We must send members of Congress, who are coming back to their districts for a recess, a loud and relentless message that government control of our health care is wrong for America. Send an email to everyone you know about the Patients First bus tour. Bring a friend. Bring your signs. Sign the petition. For a listing of event dates, times and cities, click here.

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Ed Spendell Strikes Again

Pennsylvania is 40 days into a new fiscal year, but state officials are no closer to agreeing on a new budget than they were on June 30, the last day of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

In a recent poll, 30 percent of the state's voters placed the blame for the budget impasse on Gov. Ed Rendell, but 17 percent blamed the Republicans in the Legislature while 11 percent blamed the Democrats and 28 percent blamed everyone equally.

Pennsylvania finished the 2008-09 budget year with a #3.25 billion deficit, but Rendell wants to spend even more money for 2009-10. And a newspaper is now reporting that Rendell has also spent more than $360 million in borrowed money.

The man has a serious problem, which is why he is being referred to more often as "Ed Spendell."

From a story by Debra Erdley in today's edition of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Faced with the growing impact of a prolonged recession and revenue shortfalls, Gov. Ed Rendell last fall froze state hiring, ordered spending reductions and hunkered down for a coming budget battle.

On the surface, it appeared Pennsylvania was mired in a financial morass that would affect spending at all levels.

But records obtained by the Tribune-Review show one thing hasn't been hampered by the state's revenue woes: Rendell's ability to spend borrowed money.

While he was battling revenue shortfalls and lobbying for an income tax increase, Rendell was running his own economic stimulus program, quietly handing out $361 million in bond money across the state.
Read the full story, "Pennsylvania Governor Rendell doles out $361 million in borrowed money," at the newspaper's Web site.

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