News & Brews March 28, 2022

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Budget surplus or fiscal cliff?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, “Depending on who[m] you ask, Pennsylvania is either on its way to a surplus, or a fiscal cliff.” With budget season here, Democrats are antsy to spend billions of dollars in federal Covid ‘relief’ funds, while Republican Treasurer Stacy Garrity is warning lawmakers “to be a little bit careful,” as the state is expected to have a $1.4 billion structural deficit in 2026. But deficits schmeficits! Democrats rarely meet someone else’s dollar that they don’t want to spend.

PA’s Senate race ‘bellwether’ for Dems

The Hill has an op-ed focusing on Pennsylvania’s race for U.S. Senate, noting, “The result of this Democratic primary will be a bellwether for the party’s national performance in November; and at the same time, the outcome of this general election will provide a strong indication of the party’s current and future political viability.Read the piece here.

GOP gubernatorial candidates (and the AP) on the issues

The Associated Press has a summary of how the GOP candidates for governor have been answering questions on issues ranging from education and energy to executive authority and election integrity. Read the story with a grain of salt, though, as when it comes to wording, it’s clear where the AP stands on these issues.

Pittsburgh sees biggest natural population decline of any metro area

Last week, I shared about Philly’s population drop, per the latest Census Bureau estimates. Well, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that these same estimates show the Pittsburgh metro area lost 13,755 residents between July 2020 and July 2021. “The biggest factor of that loss,” the story notes, “was the region’s natural decline, which is when an area experiences more deaths than births. The Pittsburgh metro area’s natural decline of 10,383 was the largest natural decline of any metro area in the United States, according to census estimates.” Read more here.

Election reform on tap in the House

The Cumberland Sentinel reports that the House is planning to consider election reform legislation sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (York County). You’ll recall the General Assembly previously sent Gov. Wolf an earlier version of Grove’s bill, which Wolf summarily vetoed without reading it, subsequently saying he “prejudged” the voter ID requirement simply because Republicans had proposed it. #Leadership. The Sentinel says the updated bill also “isn’t likely to get past Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto.” It remains to be seen whether he’ll actually read this one.

The public-sector union reform PA needs

The Commonwealth Foundation’s Nathan Benefield joined Lincoln Radio Journal to talk about how public employees get stuck in union membership they neither want nor need and how Pennsylvania can implement union democracy reforms that would not only free workers but also ultimately save taxpayers money. Listen here!

Op-Ed: ‘Release American energy’s strength and security’

Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan has an op-ed in the Delaware Valley Journal noting that in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “The strength of America’s shale revolution has created the ability for us to act swiftly to help our European allies while improving the global environment and our overall energy security.” Callahan notes that according to recent polling, “nearly three-quarters of Americans – on both sides of the political spectrum – believe natural gas should be part of our country’s energy policies.” Read his piece here.

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