Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, August 18, 2022

August 18, 2022


Pennsylvania Lawmakers Expected to See Big Raises Next Year

Pennsylvania legislators are set to receive a large raise next year, as automatic annual cost-of-living raises are being reinstated for the first time since they were suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. Because of this pause, as well as historic rates of inflation, the raises, which typically fall in the 1% to 3% range, may end up being significantly higher than usual. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

State Announces New Financial Abuse Specialist Team to Combat Elder Exploitation

On Wednesday, state officials announced the formation of a team whose goal will be investigating cases of financial abuse and exploitation of the state’s elderly population. The team, called the Financial Abuse Specialist Team, is comprised of four people and will fall under the purview of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

“Kids-for-Cash” Judges Ordered to Pay More Than $200 Million to Victims

Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, the two former Pennsylvania judges behind what has been dubbed the “kids-for-cash” scheme, have been ordered to pay more than $200 million to hundreds of people affected by the scandal. The scheme involved sending children — often first-time offenders, sometimes as young as 8 years old — to for-profit jails for minor offenses such as jaywalking and truancy in exchange for financial compensation. The Associated Press has more.

Pennsylvania Casino Revenues Jumped $39.2 Million From June to July

Revenues from Pennsylvania casinos increased significantly in July after a lull in late spring. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, casinos brought in more than $429 million in revenue in July alone, a $39.2 million jump from revenues in June. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.


Philadelphia Has Much Higher Than Expected Budget Balance

Philadelphia ended last fiscal year with significantly more cushion than initially projected, encouraging some and alarming others. While some, like Mayor Jim Kenney and his administration, view the additional $405.8 million in fund balance as a good sign of the city’s ability to weather unforeseen economic downturns like the pandemic, others see it as evidence that budget negotiations didn’t go far enough. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Groundbreaking on FDR Park Wetlands Project Imminent 

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy will be breaking ground later this month on a $30 million project to mitigate persistent flooding in 33 acres of wetlands in FDR Park. The restoration project will be funded by the Philadelphia International Airport as a means by which it can compensate for negative externalities caused by its recent air cargo facilities expansion. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

More Rental Units Under Development in West Philadelphia

Over the next few years, West Philadelphia will gain 838 new multifamily rental units across four major developments. The new apartment buildings are expected to help revitalize local businesses, as well as potentially reverse the trend of declining population in the neighborhood. However, some residents have voiced concerns about the availability of affordable housing in the area. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.


Progressive Netroots Nation Conference Returns to Pittsburgh

This week, progressives from across the nation will gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2009 — and marks the conference’s first in-person event in three years. One of the event’s headliners is Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Representative Austin Davis, who himself hails from Allegheny County. WESA has more.

Airmall Operator Loses Bid to Continue Operating Pittsburgh international Airport Concessions

Fraport Pittsburgh, the operator of Pittsburgh International Airport’s airmall, lost its bid to extend its services after an Allegheny Court denied a preliminary injunction request by the company. The request followed the termination of its contract in June by the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which will manage concessions operations moving forward. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.


Recent Poll Shows Democrats Shapiro, Fetterman Have Extended Leads Over Republican Opponents

Recent polling commissioned by Pittsburgh Works Together and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies shows John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro — the Democratic candidates for U.S. senate and Pennsylvania governor, respectively — have extended their leads over their Republican opponents. Among registered Pennsylvania voters who were polled, Lieutenant Governor Fetterman holds an 18-point lead over Dr. Mehmet Oz, while Attorney General Shapiro maintains a 15-point lead over Senator Doug Mastriano. PoliticsPA has more.

Polls Show Tight Race in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District

Recent internal polls, conducted by the Democratic polling firm GQR, show a tight race between Democratic Representative Matt Cartwright and his Republican opponent Jim Bognet for Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district. According to the poll, Representative Cartwright maintains a slim 6-point lead over Mr. Bognet. City & State Pennsylvania has more.


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