Morning Headlines: Wolf Threatens Budget Veto
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
Gov. Wolf is threatening to veto the latest budget offering from Pa. Republicans.
PennLive reports the House on Wednesday passed a bill that attempts to wrap up the 2015-16 budget — it adds $873 million in spending to the 2014-15 budget, but is $238 million less than a plan Wolf partially vetoed in December. Most important to Republicans who control the General Assembly: The bill contains no tax increases. AP reports that Wolf isn’t a fan of the new bill: “Despite repeated efforts by my administration to work with Republican leaders to find compromise, including over the last couple days, Republican leaders are once again insistent on passing another irresponsible and unbalanced budget that does not fund our schools or fix the deficit.”
Philadelphia schools want to hire 800 new teachers by June 30.
Philly.com says the district wants schools to have their staffs chosen by June 30, and is hoping for 5,000 applications to its new early hiring initiative. The goal? To prevent a repeat of last fall’s problems, when the school year started with 190 teaching positions unfilled. “Great teachers and staff are critical to our focus on building a more equitable system of schools across our city,” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said. “We are committed to hiring educators and support staff who believe deeply in the potential of all students.”
Here’s how Pennsylvania pols are reacting to President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade reports: Sen. Pat Toomey, up for re-election this year, released a statement saying he agreed with the Republican decision to not hold hearings this year. “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice,” Toomey said in the release. “Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination, as I have done with dozens of judges submitted by President Obama.”
Much like they’ve done earlier, Toomey’s Democratic rivals for the senate — the three main candidates for the Democratic nomination — all blasted Toomey for his stance. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Casey issued a statement telling Republicans they’re just wrong to not hold hearings on the nominee. “The Constitution is clear,” he said in the release. “Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution explicitly requires the President to select a nominee for any vacancy to the Supreme Court, and the Senate to advise and consent on that nominee. … It’s time for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to reverse course.”
The 40th Street Trolley Portal in West Philly is going to be redesigned to be more attractive.
Philly Mag’s Matthew Sheridan reports: According to University City District director of planning and design, Nate Hommel, and vice president of planning and economic development, Andrew Stober, the goal of the portal renovation is to make what they believe has never been a particularly inviting area into a more “pedestrian-oriented” public space. Hommel and Stober also believe that the heavy vegetation they plan to install and more inviting design of the portal will be an asset to the larger community of West Philadelphia. “One of the things that is very important is that beyond the restaurant, just the public space, this is a gateway to West Philadelphia,” said Hommel. “Rather than emerging into a drab industrial space, you’re really going to be welcomed into a place that looks like the rest of West Philadelphia.”
Mayor Kenney wants to hold a citywide soccer tournament to bring Philly neighborhoods together.
Kenney tells Al Día that such a tournament — tentatively called the “Philadelphia International Cup” — has always been a dream of his. “The Germans from Cannstatter in the Northeast playing the Mexicans in South Philly playing the Ghanaians of Southwest and so on,” Kenney said. “When you bring people together around one commonality, it’s the foundation for important cultural exchange and understanding that increases tolerance across the city.” The Office of Immigrant Affairs has been tasked with creating the tournament, which would conclude with a Nov. 5 championship game at Citizens Bank Park.
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