Morning Headlines: Wolf Goes Solo to Hike Minimum Wage
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to bypass the Legislature and raise the minimum wage to $10.15 today.
Before you get too excited: The order will apply only to state employees under his jurisdiction and employees of companies that get state contracts. PennLive reports that the new wage will affect 1.2 million workers throughout the state — and their new purchasing power should boost the Pennsylvania economy by $60 million. (The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.) There are critics, however. “You’d think a reasonable person would work to conclude the budget before he randomly increases spending through executive orders without talking to the Legislature,” said House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin. “We have not heard from him since the budget address.”
The Upper Darby school district is apologizing for a photo of students dressed in KKK attire.
The students were doing a project meant to highlight the Klan’s atrocities in the 1920s, but the picture raised ire among community members, 6ABC reports. Superintendent Richard Dunlap offered an apology in a public statement: “During the 2014-15 school year, a project was assigned in an Upper Darby High School history class with the intention of illustrating the historical impact of the 1920s. There were skits associated with this project, and a photo of a skit intended to identify and highlight the atrocities of the Ku Klux Klan circulated on social media last evening. The photo has offended many in the community, and the Upper Darby School District is deeply sorry for this. Though there was no intention to harm or offend anyone, we recognize that the project was in poor judgment and an inappropriate activity.”
Alan Butkovitz’s big idea to solve the city’s pension problem: Give city workers a buyout.
The Inquirer reports that Butkovitz, the city controller, proposes giving city workers just a portion of what they’re owed by their pension fund — say, 50 percent — but giving it to them in one lump sum. That might entice a few workers to take the money and run while saving City Hall desperately needed cash. “This would give people the opportunity to start a business,” Butkovitz said. “Or do something that could potentially change their life and provide financial security long-term. And, of course, they could convert it into an annuity.”
His proposal: Use bonds to offer the buyout to the 31,000 city retirees and 2,500 active employees who are covered by the city’s costliest pension plan, Plan 67. A preliminary analysis says that effort could reduce the city’s pension liabilities by up to $3.7 billion. Says Butkovitz: “It seems like the environment is ripe for ideas that would actually result in significant savings.”
Al Wistert, who won two NFL championships with the Eagles in the 1940s, has died. He was 95.
The New York Times reports Wistert was named a first-team All-Pro six times during his career, yet somehow never selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His Eagles went to the NFL championship game three consecutive times, winning the last two — both by shutouts. At Eagles.com, Ray Didinger quotes Bill Mackrides, a quarterback on the championship teams:”Al was the glue that kept our team together. His blocking was the mainstay of our offensive line. On many occasions, he bailed out the other linemen with last-second adjustments. Don’t let his smaller-than-today stature fool you. Given the opportunity, Al could play in any era.”
Champs! Temple’s men’s basketball team is the class of the the American Athletic Conference.
Making this all the more satisfying: The Owls were picked sixth in the league’s pre-season poll. Instead: They win their first title in the three seasons since joining the league, and pick up the eighth 20-win season in Fran Dunphy’s 10-year coaching tenure at the university. Temple won the title with a 64-56 victory at Tulane on Saturday.
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