October 12, 2015 |
Asked frequently during his gubernatorial campaign how he would prevail upon a conservative legislature to approve his liberal proposals, Tom Wolf cited his Peace Corps experience persuading Indian farmers to adopt novel rice strains. And sure enough, when Wolf's tax-hiking budget went before lawmakers amid a lengthening stalemate last week, not a single Indian farmer voted against it. Unfortunately for Wolf, most members of the Pennsylvania House did vote against it. Adding insult to impasse, nine of his fellow Democrats defected to a unified Republican majority to resoundingly reject the governor's budget.
October 2, 2015 |
A FORMER Philadelphia narcotics cop - who had been ex-Gov. Tom Corbett's son-in-law - was sentenced yesterday to six to 12 months in county jail with work-release eligibility. Jerold Gibson, 45, who has also spelled his name Gerold Gibson, was convicted of theft charges by a jury in July in a case in which he was caught on camera pocketing $140 from a car. Common Pleas Judge Diana Anhalt yesterday ordered Gibson taken immediately into custody. Assistant District Attorney Douglas Rhoads said after the hearing that Anhalt told Gibson that "integrity is what you do when nobody is looking.
October 1, 2015
LET'S CHECK IN on Harrisburg, also known as Lil' Washington on the Susquehanna. You've noticed similarities, yes? Democrat runs the executive branch, Republicans run the legislative branch and the tree not only produces no fruit but also appears to be dead. Welcome to governing in modern times. I'm not sure House Speaker John Boehner's stepping aside helps fix Washington, but some suggest House Speaker Mike Turzai's stepping aside might help fix Harrisburg. OK, actually, that's just wishful thinking by Democrats who see Turzai as least likely among GOP leaders to compromise with Gov. Wolf in order to get a budget in place before, let's say, Christmas.
August 28, 2015
KATHLEEN KANE may have broken the law when she leaked details from a grand jury, and she found out this week that she will stand trial for that. Gallons of ink have been spilled on the investigation and the beleaguered attorney general's response, in which she has tried to make a porn email scandal in the Attorney General's Office the center of what she claims is a manufactured case against her. Given her awkward handling of the case, the porn...
July 3, 2015
AS EXPECTED, Gov. Wolf this week vetoed the $30.2 billion budget passed by legislative Republicans, saying that it was filled with "gimmicks . . . smoke and mirrors and a lot of kick the can down the road. " That is a long string of clichés, but the governor was right. The Republican budget balanced on paper, but did so by shortchanging public education and pillaging various state funds that were supposed to be dedicated to such things as school construction and child-welfare payments.
June 30, 2015
IT WOULD be wrong to say that Gov. Wolf and the legislative Republicans aren't on the same page when it comes to spending and taxes. They aren't even on the same planet. The governor has an ambitious plan to fashion a "grand bargain" that balances the budget, increases state aid to public schools and lowers local property taxes by increasing the personal income tax, sales tax and by imposing a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas. The Republicans have countered with an ambitious plan to deny reality and to say "no" to any talk about taxes, even the natural-gas tax. It wouldn't be so bad if this stance were a posture taken as part of the hard bargaining that must go on if we are to have a new budget anytime this year.
June 23, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf knows how to place a bet. The York County businessman, who made a bundle on his family's kitchen cabinets company, sunk $10 million into his campaign for governor last year. He went from unknown to unstoppable, easily winning the Democratic primary and then defeating incumbent Tom Corbett. As politicians go, he looked pretty savvy. But the first five months of Wolf's first year as governor has been altogether different, as if the political side of running the government has been set aside.
April 19, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Polls, politics, and partisanship were not the only things Tom Corbett left behind when he vacated the governor's mansion early this year. He also left Britta, one of his pooches. For the last six months of Corbett's term, the German shepherd had been the lesser-known stepsister in the governor's mansion. Harry and Penny, two Airedale terriers the first couple had adopted as pups, were raised nearly to the status of First Children - paraded for the cameras and showcased on the Corbetts' holiday cards.
March 15, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf turned to a new, if not totally secret, weapon Friday in the high-volume campaign for his education and tax reform package - a soft-spoken York County artist who is also the new first lady of Pennsylvania. Frances Wolf, 62, took the case for the Democratic governor's roughly $1 billion proposed hike in school funding to Paul Fly Elementary School in Norristown, where she hosted a roundtable and listened to teachers and administrators, many of whom complained about budget cuts under GOP predecessor Tom Corbett.
February 7, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf said Thursday he was forming a new state office aimed at identifying hundreds of millions in savings as a way to trim a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. "This is not about cutting," the new governor said, "it's about doing what we do more efficiently. " Wolf, in his first formal Capitol news conference since being sworn in last month, said he expects to introduce details of the office in the coming weeks. The executive order he signed Thursday creating the Office of Transformation, Innovation, Modernization, and Efficiency came with a directive to state agencies to immediately identify a total of $150 million in potential savings.