News & Brews March 10, 2022

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Dem U.S. Senate candidates meet in forum

Yesterday, the three leading Democrat candidates for U.S. Senate—Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta—spoke to voters at a Pittsburgh forum. Issues on tap included Russia’s war on Ukraine, American energy production (or, more accurately, how to stunt it), healthcare, and more. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the story.

Corman calls for temporary gas tax cut

Yesterday, Sen. and GOP gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman announced he soon plans to introduce legislation to lower the gas tax through the end of the year. He plans to pay for it through borrowing and using federal relief dollars—but City & State PA reports that “according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, American Rescue Plan dollars cannot be used to offset a reduction in net tax revenue resulting from a change in state law.” In response to Corman’s proposal, fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain said a temporary tax cut falls short of what Pennsylvanians need and called Corman’s move an “attempt to garner public favor by relieving taxpayers of the burdensome tax that he himself voted to enact.” (Disclosure: Commonwealth Partners has endorsed Bill McSwain for governor.)

Supreme Court releases full opinions in congressional redistricting case

When the state Supreme Court picked the so-called “Carter” congressional redistricting map a few weeks ago, the court announced the decision in a short order and noted opinions would follow. Well, opinions have followed, and there are a lot of them. Each justice issued his or her own opinion in the case. If you’re inclined to read all seven opinions, you can find them linked here. (Or, you can read the AP story on the opinions here.)

Op-Ed: Free market, not government, is raising wages

GOP Rep. Seth Grove (York County) writes in the York Daily Record that “the free market has done more to get people off minimum wage pay than any government-sanctioned minimum wage increase could ever do.” Grove takes on several of the Wolf administration’s claims regarding the government-mandated wage and points to examples of companies paying far higher than the government-set minimum wage—due to market forces, not government mandates. Read his piece here.

The PLCB’s boondoggles: An historical panorama

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta step back from the ever-present immediate mess of government-run liquor and take in the broader, comprehensive mess of government-run liquor. You know, just for perspective. Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation have compiled a partial list of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s greatest flops of the past 20 years. Mind you, this list is not comprehensive. Enjoy.

Takeaways from yesterday’s House budget hearings

House Appropriations Committee Chair Stan Saylor (York County) released key takeaways from his committee’s budget hearings yesterday with the Department of Human Services. Among them: “DHS is colluding with SEIU to push forced collective bargainingthrough the Physical Health-HealthChoices managed care contracting process,” and “[t]he governor’s vaccine cash giveaway for state employees will cost DHS, and ultimately taxpayers, $8.9 million.” Read more here.

Senate budget hearing focuses on election security

Speaking of budget hearings, the Senate Appropriations Committee heard yesterday from the Department of State on issues surrounding voting and election security. Not surprisingly, mail-in voting and drop boxes were on the docket. Read the Center Square’s summary here.

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