News & Brews February 9, 2021

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As Wolf tries to raise taxes on restaurants, he’s also citing and fining them

PennLive reports that 32 restaurants, bars, and clubs in central PA were cited in January by the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement for not obeying Gov. Wolf’s unilateral COVID orders. According to the story, “Since early July, officers have performed more than 72,000 compliance checks and issued 2,244 warning letters to those found breaking COVID-19 protocols. The agency has also issued 702 notices of violation to noncompliant businesses.” This comes as Gov. Wolf has also proposed a 46% personal income tax hike, which would impact 92% of small businesses, including restaurants, according to Gordon Denlinger of the National Federation of Independent Business. But hey, Wolf is waiving liquor license fees, so there’s that (or not)……

In ’22 elections, will the ‘action’ on Dem side be in Senate race?

While Pennsylvania voters will elect both a U.S. senator and a new governor in 2022, one Democrat political consultant predicts all the “action” on the Democrat side will be in the senate race, not the gubernatorial one. Why? Because Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro is widely expected to run for governor, and the same consultant says, “Running against Shapiro in the primary would seem like ‘a suicide mission.'” Capitol reporter John Finnerty takes a look at the ’22 Senate landscape.

Op-Ed: Why do we have a legislature?

Our friend Guy Ciarrocchi, CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry, poses this question in an op-ed in Broad + Liberty. He cautions that when governors (or presidents) simply rule by executive order, not only does the legislature become effectively moot, but our democratic republic becomes foundationally threatened. (Relatedly, the Foundation for Economic Education published a similarly themed piece focusing exclusively on the national level. It’s also an interesting read.)

Op-Ed: Don’t raise taxes when families are hurting

The Commonwealth Foundation’s Nathan Benefield has an op-ed in the Delaware Valley Journal outlining several concrete steps lawmakers can take to close our $3 billion budget shortfall this year. Benefield writes that “this isn’t a question of whether we will have to make sacrifices. It’s a question of who should make the sacrifices — some government programs or families struggling to make ends meet.” (We already know who Gov. Wolf would pick.) 

Here’s what pandemic budget hearings will look like

No public attendees, but live-streaming. Held in the main House chambers rather than in the majority caucus room. These are details most Pennsylvanians won’t notice, but they’re a few of the ways state budget hearings will be different this year. PennLive has more.

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