Chris Christie Isn’t Campaigning for All GOP Candidates

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie — who heads the Republican Governors Association — has come under fire from a New York Republican challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo there. Rob Astorino said Christie should step down from the RGA since Christie isn’t supporting Astorino’s candidacy.

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Corbett Exercises Line-Item Veto on Pennsylvania Budget

Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday announced he was exercising a line-item veto on the Pennsylvania budget. He’s decided to battle with the legislature, saying it “refused to deal with the biggest fiscal challenge facing PA: our unsustainable public pension systems.”

“I am forcing mutual sacrifice with the general assembly though the gov’s ability to line item veto and hold spending in budgetary reserve,” Corbett added. Corbett cut $72.2 million in spending overall.

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Cigarette Tax Stalled; School Funding in Danger

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

This is why you don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched: Yes, both the Pennsylvania House and the Pennsylvania Senate have given approval to bills allowing Philly to raise its cigarette tax by $2 per pack to fund local schools — but they haven’t approved the same version of the bill so far. And that’s turning out to be a big problem.

The House version ran into a Senate buzzsaw on Tuesday — with the upper chamber balking at adding provisions in the bill that would allow some Pennsylvania cities to raise their hotel taxes. Senators began amending the House bill (it now includes a five-year sunset provision on the cigarette tax) but it’s uncertain the House will return from its break to pass the revised version — which, if not would leave Philly in limbo — or whether, in fact, it would approve those revisions: Certainly, it seems House Republicans will resist approving the additional hotel taxes. Which means getting the two chambers to back the same bill may be difficult.

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A Hollow Victory for Philly Schools

Dave Davies nailed it, as he so often does, when he described last week’s surprise deal enabling Philadelphia to tax cigarettes and send the proceeds to the schools as simultaneously “awful” and a “stunning, come-from-behind legislative win.”

The $2-a-pack cigarette tax looked dead right up until Wednesday night, when a surprise amendment offered by State Rep. John Taylor-the lone Republican in Philadelphia’s 34-strong delegation to Harrisburg-won enough support for the initiative to enable it to pass the tax-averse House. 119-90

Considering the alternative, there’s little doubt that this was a win for the city (and a reminder that a 100-percent Democratic delegation is clearly not in the city’s best interest). Parents, students and educators owe Taylor, the rest of the delegation, Mayor Nutter and Council President Clarke (all of whom lobbied hard for this) their gratitude.

But let’s look at what was won.

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DNC to Scout Philadelphia for 2016 Convention

Philadelphia is one of six cities bidding to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and the DNC has announced when it will do site visits. Democratic officials will visit the city on August 13-14.

That’s soon! Though we only need to clean up the parts of the city politicians will see, that’s still a lot of work: Do you think we can just sweep all of the Arctic Splash containers and cheesesteak wrappers strewn about Philadelphia under a rug and no one will notice?

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