January 16, 2013
Freeze appears to ease in West FRESNO, Calif. - The freeze gripping the West appeared on the verge of easing Tuesday, but farmers who spent millions to protect crops were still assessing damage, some produce prices climbed, and businesses and residents dealt with burst pipes. The National Weather Service predicted another frosty night but said temperatures would begin to warm as high pressure moved east. For a fifth night, temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley, California's agricultural heart, dipped below freezing, though they were a few degrees warmer than previous nights.
January 1, 2013
Security for schools During the week after the shootings in Newtown, I watched two separate network news broadcasts with school security experts saying that the only way to stop an armed aggressor entering a school is with an armed law enforcement officer on campus. No one targeted these guys for saying essentially what the National Rifle Association said ("In wake of Newtown, a misfire from the NRA," Wednesday). If this idea is so wrongheaded, why are so many school districts and police departments across the nation suddenly increasing the police presence in the schools?
December 9, 2012
Medical marijuana has been declared a prescription drug by the Legislature, so why is Gov. Christie trying to charge a sales tax when it's purchased? Is it out of spite because he couldn't block the legislation? Whatever the reason, it's wrong. Medical marijuana should be treated like other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, whch means no sales tax would be collected. The Christie administration jumped on an apparent loophole in the law when the Treasury Department announced last week that medical marijuana would be subject to a 7 percent sales tax - a potential revenue windfall for the state's coffers, but an additional financial burden for cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other patients prescribed marijuana to relieve pain.
December 4, 2012 |
A lawmaker who was influential in getting New Jersey's medical marijuana law passed said he was stunned by the Christie administration's announcement last week that the drug would be taxed. State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer), who spent five years gathering support for the bill before it was enacted in 2010, said the Treasury Department's rationale was jarring, given the history of the bill. Because the law was silent on whether the 7 percent sales tax could be applied, treasury spokesman Andrew Pratt said the department had to find out the "legislators' intent" when they drafted it. "The sponsors agree it was their intention to tax the sale of medicinal marijuana," he said.
November 22, 2012 |
TRENTON - Democrats who lead the New Jersey Assembly have introduced legislation that would provide sales-tax rebates to property owners and small businesses repairing damage from Sandy. Speaker Sheila Oliver and Majority Leader Louis Greenwald introduced the bill Monday to provide sales-tax rebates on supplies and services bought between Oct. 30 and Jan. 1, 2014. Greenwald, who represents portions of Camden and Burlington Counties, said a sales-tax relief program would spark economic activity in areas most heavily damaged by the storm.
October 28, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - Another year, another disappointment for Pennsylvania's wine connoisseurs. The General Assembly's 2011-12 session is scheduled to come to a close without action on legislation that would allow wine lovers to get direct shipments to their homes from vineyards in California and other states. Two measures were introduced this session that also would have benefited Pennsylvania's 140 family owned wineries by allowing reciprocity agreements so they could ship their products directly to customers in other states.
October 14, 2012 |
Whenever I write about people struggling to meet monthly mortgage payments, at least one reader reminds me that property taxes contribute mightily to this problem. Pat Burkhart of Upper Dublin Township is one of those readers, but her correspondence focused on a legislative solution to her problem meeting tax payments, introduced as Act 1776 in the state House by Republican Rep. Jim Cox of western Berks County and as Bill 1400 in the Senate. The measure would eliminate the school property tax and raise the sales and income levies to compensate.
September 14, 2012 |
Americans would love to have more public transit. Unless they have to pay for it. A survey released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a Washington environmental-advocacy group that is pro-transit, found Americans favored more local government spending on buses, trains, and light rail by a wide ratio: 68 percent to 25 percent. The support was even higher in the Philadelphia suburbs: Pollsters found Bucks and Montgomery County respondents favored more local spending on transit by a ratio of 82 percent to 13 percent.
September 14, 2012 |
ON ITS FIRST day back from summer break Thursday, City Council made it clear that reforming the property-tax system and raising revenue would dominate the discussion this fall. With Mayor Nutter's planned move to a new property-tax system on the horizon, Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. introduced a bill that would reduce the city's tax abatement for developers from 10 years to five. The plan would start in 2014 with a full abatement in the first year and an annual gradual decrease of 20 percent.
September 13, 2012 |
Americans would love to have more public transit. Unless they have to pay for it. A survey released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington environmental advocacy group that is pro-transit, found that Americans favored more local government spending on buses, trains and light rail, by a wide margin: 68 percent to 25 percent. The support was even higher in suburban Philadelphia. Pollsters found Bucks and Montgomery County residents favored more local spending on transit by a margin of 82 percent to 13 percent.