News & Brews November 18, 2021

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New website will let you see how much state overspends

It seems every year, the state overspends its approved budget. In 2020-21, the overspend was $850 million. in 2019-20, it was more than $1 billion. Now, Treasurer Stacy Garrity has unveiled a new website where Pennsylvanians will be able to see where their tax dollars are going beyond the approved budget. ABC27 reports that nearly all the overspending comes from the Department of Health and Human Services. Since the overspending doesn’t typically start until January, the website doesn’t have any data listed yet, but bookmark the page. I know we did!

Wolf thinks PSERS should be transparent … how ironic

Gov. Wolf is calling on PSERS, our state’s largest pension fund, to make public the results of an internal investigation into the mess that led to reporting artificially high investment returns. Wolf’s press secretary said, “The governor supports increased transparency.” Umm, does anyone else catch the irony? For the past 20 months, Wolf has balked at transparency, hidden data, and often released information only when forced to by Right-to-Know requests. Sure, I think PSERS should be transparent, too, but methinks the governor’s call on this one is empty, to say the least.

CNN spotlights PA’s Back to School PAC

CNN dives into how parents’ frustrations over their kids’ education during COVID have led to efforts to organize for political change. The piece highlights Pennsylvania’s Back to School PAC, which cut across party lines in support of a single issue: keeping kids in school, in person.

PA governorship is a national GOP target in 2022 elections

Following GOP wins on Nov. 2, the Republican Governors Association is hoping to flip eight Democrat-held governorships to Republican next year. Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania is on the list. Of the eight, PA is the only state in which a Democrat incumbent governor is not running for re-election. Fox News has more.

PA Chamber President Gene Barr announces retirement

Gene Barr, who has served as president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry since 2011, announced he plans to step down in the second quarter of 2022, PennLive reports. Barr has been with the chamber since 2003. We thank him for his service on behalf of Pennsylvania’s businesses and wish him all the best!

Are changes coming to who advertises proposed constitutional amendments?

City & State PA looks at an effort by Sen. Dave Argall (Berks and Schuylkill counties) that would remove the responsibility of advertising proposed constitutional amendments from the Department of State. Instead, the responsibility would fall to the Legislative Reference Bureau, “the state’s legislative agency that prepares bills, amendments and resolutions.” The effort, Senate Bill 940, comes after the Department of State failed to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment to aid victims of sex abuse, preventing the amendment from getting on the ballot earlier this year.

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