News & Brews March 15, 2021
Get News & Brews in your inbox each day: Subscribe here!
Pension ‘oops’ may have cost taxpayers millions
On Friday, the state’s largest pension plan revealed that a calculation error made last year may have cost taxpayers $25 million while wrongly benefiting 100,000 school employees. The board of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) voted on Friday to hire an outside firm to investigate, and depending on the findings of the investigation, the teachers who wrongly benefited may have to pay more out of their paychecks to fund their pensions.
This one’s interesting for a few reasons. Spotlight PA has a new piece reporting that, “Partisan Pa. websites masquerading as local news threaten trust in journalism.” The story seeks to expose websites that claim to be news but actually are partisan. Of course, Spotlight PA–with its ties to the Philly Inquirer–seems to have a blind spot to the Inquirer’s own partisanship. Also, conspicuously absent from the Spotlight piece is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, which was launched via the Hopewell Fund, which is part of the behemoth Arabella Advisors, a Leftist group that spends billions to support progressive causes.
Lawmakers may consider plan to fix DOS bungle on aiding victims of child sex abuse
After the Department of State botched its responsibility to advertise the proposed constitutional amendment to aid victims of child sex abuse–thereby derailing the amendment–lawmakers this week may consider whether to ask voters for an emergency change to the state constitution. Capitol reporter John Finnerty explains.
Dems pick Flynn for NEPA special senate election
On Saturday, Democrats selected Rep. Marty Flynnn to run in the special election to replace Sen. John Blake, who resigned to take a position with Rep. Matt Cartwright. You’ll recall Flynn is the rep who threatened on social media to “make it personal” with any businesses who disagreed with Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders. Commenting within that post, he then told one person, “I bet I could kick your fat a** up and Down the street until you shut your fat mouth!!!” Keep it classy.
Wolf’s latest plan–phasing out gas tax–raises eyebrows
On Friday, Gov. Wolf announced he wants to phase out our gas tax and replace it with…well, we don’t know. But to come up with a plan, he signed an executive order creating the Transportation Revenue Options Commission. It’s no secret our gas tax is way too high at the 2nd highest in the nation. Still, raise your hand if you’re excited about a government entity with the words “revenue options” in it.
Tracking lawmaker per diems from March – Dec 2020
Spotlight PA reports that from March to December last year, lawmakers received $726,877 in taxpayer-funded per-diems, with 15 lawmakers bringing in more than $10,000 each and another 3 lawmakers bringing in more than $20,000 each. Scroll down in the story to search by lawmaker or county.
DOH has no idea how many nursing home staff have been vaccinated
If you’re wondering why the state Department of Health hasn’t been releasing info on the vaccination rate of nursing home staff statewide, it’s because they don’t have it. Yep. Welcome to the latest example of why Republicans and Democrats alike are beyond frustrated by the Wolf administration’s vaccine rollout.