Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, February 8, 2024

February 8, 2024

Pennsylvania

Governor Shapiro Unveils $48.3B FY25 Executive Budget

On Tuesday, Governor Josh Shapiro delivered his second annual Budget Address, where he unveiled his $48.34 billion FY25 Executive Budget, a 6.2% increase over last year’s. Highlights include $1.1 billion into new funding for K-12 education, a $975 million investment in creating a comprehensive three-part plan to transform higher education, and a $282.8 million investment in public transit systems across the Commonwealth — including $161 million in funding for SEPTA. The Governor also strongly urged his colleagues in the General Assembly to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, legalize recreational marijuana, and codify a 42% tax on skill games. Read Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ recap here.

Governor Shapiro Touts Agriculture Innovation Fund During Lancaster Visit

Following his Tuesday Budget Address, Governor Shapiro and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding visited the New Holland Agriculture plant in Lancaster County, emphasizing the $10.3 million Agriculture Innovation Fund for its crucial role in supporting rural communities and farmers. He also defended his budget proposal against criticism, inviting state legislators to “come forth with their own [ideas]” if they disagree with those proposed. PoliticsPA has more.

Who is on the Statewide Ballot in 2024?

With only five days left until the deadline to submit nomination petitions to get on this year’s ballot, PoliticsPA has compiled a list from the Pennsylvania Department of State of this year’s statewide candidates.

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Support of Texas Governor’s Bid to Curb Migrant Influx

The state Senate passed a resolution in support of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s controversial border security efforts, urging Governor Shapiro to follow suit. PennLive has more.

Pennsylvania DHS to Use Doulas to Enhance Quality of Maternal Healthcare

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is expanding doula access to address maternal health disparities in marginalized communities, aiming to improve birth outcomes, with simplified certification processes and subsidies offered, while working toward full recognition and coverage of doula services by 2025 or 2026. WESA has more.

 

Philadelphia

Mayor Parker Separates Streets, Sanitation Departments; Launches Investigation Into OHS

Mayor Cherelle Parker has announced the separation of the Streets and Sanitation Departments, a move intended to help the City tackle each in a more efficient and functions-based manner. She also announced an independent investigation into the Office of Homeless Services (OHS) due to its overspending in recent years. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

City Council Approves Kensington Caucus Resolution; Introduces Bills on Subcontractor Protections, “Tag Flippers”

A resolution establishing a new Kensington Caucus was unanimously approved by City Council on Thursday. Legislation that would implement new protections for “displaced” subcontracted building services workers was reintroduced after having been pocket vetoed by Mayor Jim Kenney, while another bill was introduced legislation that would ban “tag flippers,” which can hide a car’s license plate and thwart police investigations and toll booths.

District Attorney Krasner Establishes Organized Retail, Home Theft Task Force 

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has launched a task force to combat organized retail and home theft, addressing a surge in retail theft incidents in the city, particularly targeting repeat offenders and criminal organizations involved in reselling stolen goods. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

More Philadelphia Democratic Ward Committee Members Removed for Supporting WFP Candidates

The Philadelphia Democratic Party removed no fewer than 16 ward committee members for supporting Working Families Party (WFP) candidates in the 2023 City Council elections. Billy Penn has more.

 

Pittsburgh

County Executive Innamorato Anticipates Minimal Effect From County Employee Salary Increase

Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato’s implementation of a pay raise for county workers is projected to increase personnel expenditures by nearly $9.9 million over three years, less than estimated for a similar plan previously proposed by County Council. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh City Council Greenlights Mayor Gainey’s $6M Comprehensive Plan Proposal

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council approved Mayor Ed Gainey’s $6 million proposal for a citywide comprehensive plan, including a $3.25 million contract for plan development and $2.6 million for community engagement. The plan aims to address zoning rules, racial disparities, and climate change. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Considering Tiny House Village to Address Homelessness

A proposal for tiny house villages for homeless individuals faced criticism from a Pittsburgh Department of City Planning official but received mixed feedback from planning commissioners ahead of an upcoming public hearing. PublicSource has more.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Braces for Potential Tax Reductions, Lost Revenue

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials are warning of potential revenue reduction due to ongoing property tax appeals and exacerbated by a court-ordered reduction in the Common Level Ratio, which may pose budgetary challenges. WESA has more.

 

Federal

No Evidence of Election Fraud at Pennsylvania Post Office in 2020, Says Project Veritas

Project Veritas and its former leader acknowledge the falsity of claims about ballot mishandling at a Pennsylvania post office in 2020, settling a lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania postmaster, thus debunking allegations of election fraud in Erie during the 2020 presidential election. The Associated Press has more.

Senator Casey Braces For “Toughest” Re-Election Battle Yet

U.S. Senator Bob Casey anticipates a close race in Pennsylvania, reflecting on its pivotal role in national politics and reflecting on the state’s recent political dynamics. NBC has more.

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