Wolf Bashes Healthcare Bill in Letter to White House

L: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) | R: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf is urging the White House not to embrace the American Health Care Act – legislation that would repeal and replace major parts of Obamacare.

In a letter penned to White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (President Donald Trump’s son-in-law), Wolf said he has “deep and serious concerns” about how the AHCA would affect people and communities struggling with opioid addiction, which Wolf has worked for years to address and combat.  Read more »

Philly Tech to Rally Against Wolf Budget Proposal

The tech industry has hit a rough patch with Governor Tom Wolf.

To close a $3 billion deficit in the Commonwealth’s 2017-18 budget, Wolf has proposed the reinstatement of a statewide sales tax on software development, hardware consulting, and other computer services firms, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

At six percent, the so-called “technology tax” would be at least two percent higher than those of any of the other four states (Hawaii, Connecticut, South Dakota, New Mexico) that currently impose broad taxes on these services. The number has Pennsylvania’s tech sector worried.  Read more »

Poll: More Than Half of Pa. Voters Want to Legalize Weed

Image via Pixabay.

More than half of Pennsylvania voters – 56 percent – want to legalize marijuana, according to a new survey from Franklin & Marshall College.

According to the poll, support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high in Pennsylvania. In 2006, when F&M first surveyed Pa. voters on the topic, just 22 percent of participants supported legalization.

Here’s how support breaks down along party lines, per the poll: 75 percent of independent voters are in favor of legalization, 65 percent percent of Democrats are in favor, and 44 percent of Republicans support legalization. Across the board, support has grown drastically since 2015, when the poll found that about 40 percent of Pennsylvania voters supported legalization.  Read more »

If This Bill Passes, Privately-Owned Liquor Stores Could Finally Be a Thing in Philly

liquorshelves-940x540

Less than a year ago, Governor Tom Wolf signed a pretty big-deal liquor reform bill allowing grocery stores, restaurants and hotels that already sold beer to sell wine bottles, too. It was quite the game-changer for our dining scene because it allowed our restaurants and bottle shops to sell wine to-go the same way a private wine shop would — a luxury this city aches for.

And we were so pleased when it passed. Wine-focused spots like Jet Wine Bar and Tria started selling bottles you couldn’t find in your local Fine Wine & Good Spirits store — fun stuff to pacify our passionate wine drinkers.

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee got the reform ball rolling again — this time for liquor.

Read more »

Five Things to Know About Gov. Wolf’s Budget Proposal

Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his annual budget address in Harrisburg earlier today, presenting a $32.3 billion spending plan that would work to close the state’s nearly $3 billion deficit largely through significant cuts to government agencies and reforms that would eliminate “corporate loopholes.”

The changes would save taxpayers more than $2 billion, according to Wolf, a first-term Democrat who is up for reelection next year. But Wolf still wants to accomplish the goals he’s long sought by funneling more money into schools and programs that fight the state’s opioid crisis.

Here are five things you should know about the governor’s budget proposal. Read more »

State Rejects Philly’s Bid to Expand Tax-Free Zones to Logan Triangle, West Philly

Development projects are planned for Logan Triangle (L) and the former University City High School (R).

Development projects are planned for Logan Triangle (L) and the former University City High School (R).

Over the summer, as the dust began to settle on another Pennsylvania budget negotiation, officials in Philadelphia’s Commerce Department realized that the state had opened the door for an expansion of Keystone Opportunity Zones, a program that’s meant to encourage investment in vacant and blighted areas by waiving certain state and local taxes. Read more »

What the Incredible Rise of the Independent Voter Means for Philly

Philadelphia Independent Voter

Voting booth photo: William Thomas Cain/iStock.

For more than half of the 20th century, the number of registered independents and third-party voters in Philadelphia didn’t change much. From the 1940s to the early 1990s, there were never fewer than about 20,000 or more than 50,000. (Stick with me through some math here — it’s important.) Things began to take a turn in 1997, though, when the amount of indies and third-partiers in the city rose to 52,600; five years later, it climbed to 70,400; five years after that, it soared to 92,600. Today, there are nearly 124,000 in Philly — that’s an eye-popping increase of more than 154 percent over the past 20 years.

During the same time period, the number of local Democrats has grown by 24 percent, and Republican registrations have shrunk by 37 percent. In fact, for the first time in modern history, independents and third-party voters are now only 1,600 people away from outnumbering Republicans in the city. That’s stunning.

The boom in independents in Philadelphia could have an impact on local, state, and even federal elections. It could threaten the few GOP-held seats in city government. It could also chip away at the power of Philly Democrats to swing statewide and presidential races. And maybe, just maybe, it could make room for Socialists, Libertarians or Working Families Party members in local elected office. Read more »

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