Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024


Budget Negotiations Underway in Harrisburg

FY25 state budget negotiations have begun in earnest, with lawmakers currently debating how or whether to spend a portion of the state’s $14 billion surplus. While Democrats plan to prioritize education and public transit funding, Republicans — including State Senate Appropriations Chair Scott Martin (R-Berks/Lancaster) — have expressed concerns about depleting fiscal reserves, preferring instead to introduce new tax cuts. Notably, school vouchers are on the table again after derailing budget negotiations last year. Spotlight PA has more.

Gov. Shapiro Signs Public Service Jobs Executive Order

Gov. Shapiro signed an executive order to enhance access to public service jobs by creating a new Hire, Improve, Recruit, Empower (HIRE) Committee, implementing financial incentives for multilingual employees, and providing free menstrual products in state facilities, among other measures. WITF has more.

Gov. Shapiro Advocates for Public Transit Funding in Lancaster

Gov. Shapiro visited Lancaster this week to advocate for a nearly $283 million portion of his budget proposal to improve public transit services across the Commonwealth, emphasizing benefits for seniors, economic development, and statewide connectivity. PoliticsPA has more.

PA ACLU Lawsuit Targets “Notice and Cure” Policies for Mail Ballots

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is suing Butler County and considering additional challenges to policies that disenfranchise voters who make errors when casting mail-in ballots, focusing on the “notice and cure” process, which varies across counties. Spotlight PA has more.

Luzerne County Elections Board Has Yet to Certify HD-117 Results

Luzerne County judges denied state Representative Mike Cabell’s petition to count write-in votes and rejected his challenge regarding provisional ballots in the Republican primary for state House District 117. Challenger Jamie Walsh leading Rep. Cabell by three votes, though the results of the race have yet to be certified due to ongoing provisional ballot challenges. The Citizens’ Voice has more.

PA Gaming Control Board Sets Monthly Revenue Record

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has reported record-breaking monthly revenue for the month of March totaling $554.6 million, with internet gaming revenue reaching $191 million. Revenue from skill games was included in Gov. Shapiro’s proposed FY25 budget, and there has been bipartisan support for taxing and regulating these games among state legislators. The Bradford Era has more.



Parker Admin Hopes to Streamline ZBA

The Parker Administration aims to streamline Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to reduce wait times and hurdles for developers and small-business owners. Legislation introduced during today’s City Council meeting would simplify quorum requirements. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Ne-Yo, Kesha to Headline Wawa Welcome America Concert

The Wawa Welcome America Festival returns next month, starting with a Juneteenth block party on June 19 and concluding with a July 4 concert featuring headliners Ne-Yo and Kesha. WHYY has more.

Gun Violence Heavily Concentrated in Kensington, NYT Finds

A recent New York Times analysis revealed that about three-quarters of Philadelphia residents lived within a quarter mile of a fatal shooting between 2020 and 2023, with Kensington experiencing particularly concentrated violence. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



CNX Plans $1.5B Hydrogen Fuels Plant at Pittsburgh Airport

CNX Resources is planning a $1.5 billion hydrogen-based fuel facility at Pittsburgh’s airport, contingent on coal mine methane qualifying for tax credits under President Joe Biden’s climate change plan, facing support from local labor unions and opposition from climate activists. The Associated Press has more.

Mayor Gainey, Biden Admin Highlight Investments in Pittsburgh’s Marginalized Communities

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey showcased federal infrastructure spending’s impact on the city to White House Advisor Tom Perez during a visit this week, emphasizing a focus on equity and rectifying past divisions in predominantly Black neighborhoods. WESA has more.

Allegheny County School Districts Consider Tax Hikes as Pandemic Aid Expires, Tax Refunds Loom

Allegheny County school districts face budget pressures as they contend with rising costs, dwindling reserves, and the expiration of federal pandemic aid, prompting some to consider tax increases and others to implement measures to balance budgets without furloughs or risking fund depletion. WESA has more.



Biden, Trump to Face Off in Two Debates

President Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to two campaign debates, with the first scheduled for June 27 in Atlanta hosted by CNN and the second on September 10 by ABC News. PoliticsPA has more.

McCormick Proposed Relocating DOE to Pittsburgh During Campaign Stop

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick spoke at an event in Lancaster County this week, where he criticized opponent Senator Bob Casey and President Biden and proposed relocating the Department of Energy (DOE) to Pittsburgh. PennLive has more.


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