News & Brews January 24 2022

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Media not buying Gov. Wolf’s fiscal fantasy

Last week, Gov. Wolf held a press conference announcing Pennsylvania is in a strong fiscal state and he was “going to start taking some credit for it.” But even one of the most progressive media outlets in the state isn’t completely buying it. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star headlined, “In final year, Wolf touts multi-billion surplus; but projections depict gloomy fiscal future.” Meanwhile, the Morning Call’s Paul Muschick cautioned to Wolf, “Okay, take your bow. But don’t let your head get too big on your way out the door.” Muschick writes, “Deficits are projected starting in 2023-24. The shortfall is forecast to be about $1.9 billion that year; nearly $2 billion in 2024-25; $1.8 billion in 2025-26; and $1.7 billion in 2026-27, according to the state Independent Fiscal Office.”

PSERS board members asked to sign NDA

Spotlight PA reports that board members of our state’s largest pension fund have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement “before receiving a critical update on the botched investment calculation scandal that has led to multiple federal investigations.” Democrat Sen. Katie Muth (Berks, Chester, and Montgomery counties), who sits on PSERS’ board, noted surprise at the request, stating “Public servants shouldn’t hide information from the public.”

Op-Ed: ‘Time to end the corrupt endorsement process’

Longtime political consultant Ryan Shafik has an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review calling out the Republican Party endorsement process as an “antiquated vestige of Tammany Hall politics.” He writes that the party committee “resembles a gossiping knitting club on a good day more than the grassroots GOTV [Get-Out-The-Vote] electoral juggernaut it claims to be.” Check out his piece here.

Wolf didn’t consult his own advisory committee in drawing his map

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that as senators held a hearing on Friday on Gov. Wolf’s proposed congressional map, “no one from the Wolf administration was present to discuss the specifics of the map.” (The administration says it wasn’t invited.) What’s more, two members of Gov. Wolf’s own redistricting advisory committee who were present “had no answers.” The kicker? One of the members, stated, “Honestly, I have no idea. We weren’t consulted, we weren’t part of it.”

Committee hearing today on liquor privatization

The House Liquor Control Committee will hold a hearing at 10am this morning to consider a proposed constitutional amendment that would privatize our state-run liquor system. The amendment, introduced by Republican Rep. Natalie Mihalek (Allegheny and Washington counties), comes as a majority of Pennsylvanians want privatization, but in 2015 Gov. Wolf vetoed legislation that would have gotten government out of the booze business. The hearing will be live-streamed here.

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