Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, March 14, 2024

March 14, 2024


Gov. Shapiro Unveils New Energy Plan

On Wednesday, Governor Josh Shapiro unveiled a new energy plan intended to simultaneously address carbon pollution, protect and create jobs, and lower Pennsylvanians’ utility bills. The plan includes new initiatives like the Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Act (PACER) — a PA-specific, cap-and-invest program — and the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS) — designed to promote innovation and attract federal investments. The plan also includes a renewed commitment to existing initiatives like well plugging and constructing two regional hydrogen hubs funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. PoliticsPA has more.

Despite Surplus of Cash, PA Still Grapples with Impending Budget Issue

Though Gov. Shapiro has proposed allocating $3.5 billion from Pennsylvania’s surplus to bolster transit systems, fund a court-mandated K-12 education overhaul, and expand economic development programs, the state’s structural deficit poses long-term financial challenges and necessitates either spending cuts or revenue increases, according to critics. Spotlight PA has more.

Democratic Attorney General Candidates Walk Fine Line on Criminal Justice Reform

Despite general agreement on some reform issues, such as providing services for prisoners and treating drug addiction as a health issue, the five Democratic candidates for state attorney general — who participated in a televised debate on Tuesday — have generally prioritized law enforcement rather than advocating for significant criminal justice reforms. WESA has more.

A Guide to the Auditor General Race

Spotlight PA has published a guide to this year’s auditor general race, including profiles of each of the primary candidates and a description of what the job entails.

Local Governments Advocate for State Funding to Address Cybersecurity Needs

Pennsylvania local governments seek sustained state funding for cybersecurity amid rising threats, despite receiving federal grants to address digital security vulnerabilities, with concerns raised over the adequacy of resources and ongoing financial challenges. Spotlight PA has more.



Mayor Parker Proposes $6.29B “One Philly” Budget in First Annual Address

Mayor Cherelle Parker delivered her first budget address to City Council this morning. The $6.29 billion proposed spending plan — which notably does not include any new taxes or planned cuts to wage and business taxes  — focused on public safety, clean and green initiatives, economic opportunity, housing, and education as top priorities.

Philadelphia Lost 50,000 People During Pandemic 

Philadelphia lost more than 50,000 residents throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, According to census data. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Valerie Gay Appointed Head of Arts, Culture

Former Deputy Director of Audience Engagement and Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes Foundation Valerie Gay has been appointed Philadelphia’s head of arts and culture, a position which Mayor Parker is expected to elevate to the cabinet level. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Mayor Gainey, City Council at Odds Over Solutions to Homelessness

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey is standing by his strategy to address homelessness by prioritizing investment in affordable apartments to free up shelter space for those ready to transition into long-term housing, despite City Council’s preference for immediate shelter solutions. WESA has more.

City Council to Consider Broadening Tax Incentives Downtown to Stimulate Development

Pittsburgh City Council is considering expanding tax breaks for downtown developers amid declining real estate values and a significant drop in property tax revenue. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Considering Legal Action to Enforce Countywide Property Reassessment

Pittsburgh Public Schools is considering taking legal action against Allegheny County to compel property reassessment, citing a loss of over $10 million in real estate revenue and concerns over high-value properties receiving artificially low assessments. WESA has more.



How PA’s House Delegation Voted on the TikTok Ban

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill requiring ByteDance to divest from TikTok, citing national security concerns. Fourteen members of the Pennsylvania delegation voted in favor of the ban, while Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-02), Scott Perry (R-10), and Summer Lee (D-12) voted against the measure. PoliticsPA has more.

PA Democrats to Launch “Don’t Trust Dave” Messaging Against McCormick

Pennsylvania Democrats are planning to deploy a “Don’t Trust Dave” campaign against Republican Senate candidate David McCormick, citing policy positions and residency concerns, while Republicans have continued to target incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s tenure. Recent polls show Sen. Casey ahead by ten points. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

President Biden Opposes Sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel

President Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the sale of Pennsylvania-headquartered U.S. Steel to Japanese firm Nippon Steel, citing the need to maintain American ownership and support unionized workers. WESA has more.

Beltway Briefing: “Double-Hater” Voters to Determine the 2024 Presidential

Following Super Tuesday and President Biden’s State of the Union address, Public Strategies teams up with Cozen O’Connor’s state attorneys general practice to discuss key races and issues ahead of November. From presidential to congressional to gubernatorial to state attorneys general races, they dissect the looming specter of aging presidential contenders, the economic pulse, immigration, discourse surrounding abortion rights, and Israel-Gaza conflict, among other pivotal issues. Listen to the episode here


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