News & Brews April 20, 2022

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GOP gov. candidates debate the issues, criticize those who skipped

The five GOP candidates for governor who participated in last evening’s media-sponsored debate mostly agreed on the issues (with a few exceptions). PennLive reports that topics covered included education, transportation, abortion, marijuana legalization, transgender athletes, and more. Beyond the issues, all five of the candidates agreed on criticizing the four leading candidates who did not participate in the debate.

Committee hearing today on film tax credit

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing this morning at 10am on Pennsylvania’s film tax credit program. Proponents of the program argue it contributes to Pennsylvania’s economy, but a 2019 analysis of the program by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office found “that the net return on investment (ROI) is 13.1 cents of state tax revenue for each tax credit dollar.” Click here for the livestream link for the 10am hearing.

About those union numbers…

The Commonwealth Foundation (CF) takes issue with the recent report (which I shared last week) from the Manhattan Institute (MI) concluding that public-sector union membership in PA has stayed relatively stable since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Janusruling. CF’s Nathan Benefield noted that the MI report used Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which said public-sector employment in PA grew by 100,000, but this data is inaccurate. In response, the MI report’s author, Dan DiSalvo, said, “I think the issue here is with the BLS data, not with me. I only report it. I never said it was super accurate in general or for [Pennsylvania] in particular.” Read more here.

Gov. hopeful Mastriano releases plan for first 100 days

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano released a nine-point plan of how he would tackle his first 100 days if elected Pennsylvania governor. According to the latest poll, Mastriano leads the GOP field, although nearly 20% of voters remain undecided. (Disclosure: Commonwealth Partners has endorsed Bill McSwain for governor.)

PA Medicaid contracts keep unionization language

The Center Square reports, “As Medicaid contracts are worked out to take effect in the summer, draft language remains unchanged that could compel unionization in some Pennsylvania health systems.” The language has drawn opposition from lawmakers, as well as from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, which warned that the language “could jeopardize access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.” Read more here.

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