Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, July 18, 2022
July 18, 2022
July 18, 2022
Pennsylvania is one of at least seven states that is either considering or actively pursuing constitutional amendments that will place limitations on abortion access. Last week, the General Assembly voted to advance a constitutional amendment stating that the state’s constitution does not recognize a right to abortion. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
Pennsylvania’s corporate tax rate is currently one of the highest in the nation. But with significant changes included in the recently passed state budget, it will likely be one of the lowest by 2031, which many business owners and economists hope will translate to more business in the Lehigh Valley. The Morning Call has more.
Despite Governor Tom Wolf’s carbon pricing program having been blocked by the Commonwealth Court, environmental groups have praised the recently passed 2022-23 budget for its significant investment in water and conservation initiatives, as well as state parks and forests. StateImpact Pennsylvania has more.
An additional $125 million investment in a popular private school tax credit program was one of the major components of the education-related initiatives laid out in the 2022-23 state budget. However, the allocation has drawn criticism from some who cite a lack of reliable data on student outcomes due to the program’s inadequate transparency and accountability mechanisms. PennLive has more.
A columnist argues that Pennsylvania’s current probation system is inefficient and costly. Senate Bill 913 is a bipartisan bill that would offer comprehensive probation reform. Read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.
Lawmakers are still basking in the glow of the many hard-won programs and initiatives included in the recently passed 2022-23 state budget after weeks of tough negotiations. But increased spending in this year’s budget may spell trouble in the form of a budget deficit that our next governor will have to grapple with, says Jennifer Stefano, executive vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation and a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. Read her opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.
Over the weekend, Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor Doug Mastriano spoke at a film screening at Christ Community Church in Lower Allen Township. The film, “The Return of the American Patriot: The Rise of Pennsylvania,” features Mastriano and extols the virtues of grassroots conservatism in the state. Critics argue that the event may have violated IRS guidelines that prevent non-profit organizations from taking part in political campaigns. PennLive has more.
The amount of unpaid Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls has skyrocketed within the past year largely due to an increase in tolls themselves, as well as an increased number of drivers on the road. The uncollected tolls add up to approximately $155 million, reflecting a near 48% increase from this time last year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
Today, Governor Wolf announced that Pennsylvania was awarded $268 million through the State Small Business Credit Initiative. This came from federal American Rescue Plan funding, and it is intended to spur business and job growth. Read more here.
Philadelphia has an unprecedented number of position vacancies due to a dramatic increase in resignations and retirements throughout the course of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this severe understaffing across city government means an overall reduction in services — from emergency response and building inspections to libraries and parks. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
In the wake of the July 4th Parkway shooting and in light of a rise in gun violence, City Council President Darrell Clarke is advocating for discussion of controversial stop-and-frisk policies. While stop-and-frisk has never officially ended in Philadelphia, stops have decreased dramatically in recent years, and policies to lessen what some deem to be “unnecessary” police interactions have gained traction. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
Like many major metropolitan areas across the country, Pittsburgh is currently experiencing a drastic uptick in the number of deadly shootings. Many of those who have lost their lives to gun violence have been under the age of 21, and experts say that pandemic isolation and social media are partly to blame. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
The Pittsburgh international Airport has ended its 70-year relationship with the Grant Oliver Corporation, which has served as parking operator since the airport’s opening in 1952. The Allegheny County Airport Authority has instead chosen to contract with LAZ Parking, a national operator headquartered in Connecticut. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
Last Friday, Philadelphia officials — including Mayor Jim Kenney and commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services Jill Bowen — joined members of the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Communications Commission to announce the launch of the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is intended to make accessing potentially life-saving services more accessible to those in crisis. City & State Pennsylvania has more.
During a roundtable discussion with Pennsylvania lawmakers on Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris underlined the importance of the outcome of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races to determine the future of major issues like abortion rights in the state and across the country. WHYY has more.
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