News & Brews July 5, 2022

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Will U.S. Senate race break Pa. spending records?

The Post-Gazette reports that its own “survey of various political advertisers found that Democratic and Republican powerhouses have already booked at least $67 million in advertising spots for the November [U.S. Senate] election,” suggesting the race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz may be “one of the most expensive of all time in Pennsylvania.” The 2016 Toomey-McGinty contest hit $164 million, the story notes, and the current race isn’t there yet, but some say it could get there. Read more here.

Pa. congressional seat among seven to watch nationwide

The Hill includes the race for Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District among seven races to watch nationwide that could determine control of the U.S. House. The story notes that while Republicans are favored to win back the House, “a Morning Consult-Politico poll released this week found that Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked on the generic congressional ballot at 42 percent support each.” The 17th District is the seat being vacated by Rep. Conor Lamb. Running are Republican Jeremy Shaffer and Democrat Chris Deluzio.

A state budget this week? We’ll see

What was originally planned as a long weekend of legislative session to work on the state budget turned into just a long weekend for many lawmakers, as the House and Senate cancelled weekend sessions and rank-and-file lawmakers were sent home. Legislative leaders are hoping the budget will be hammered out this week. As of yesterday, PennLive reported that negotiations “appear to be in final stages.” Meanwhile, estimates are that the General Fund budget for FYI 2022-23 will be about $42 billion. For some context, from 2000-2022, state budget spending ballooned 133%, while Pa.’s population growth over the same period was 4%.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative takes effect in Pa.

Gov. Wolf’s carbon tax scheme, which is predicted to raise electricity prices and cost jobs, went into effect on Friday. This means “Pennsylvania’s coal and natural gas-fired power plants will pay for each ton of carbon dioxide they release as of July 1.”Lawmakers had attempted to block RGGI legislatively and in the courts, but to no avail as of yet. The Post-Gazette notes, “If Pennsylvania’s carbon rule survives the court challenges, it will be up to the next governor to decide whether to keep the policy or scrap it.” Republican Doug Mastriano has pledged to do the latter, while Democrat Josh Shapiro has refused to say what he’ll do, although as attorney general, he approved the rule.

WPA lawmaker to retire, remove name from ballot, after drunk driving charge

Republican state Rep. Matt Dowling (Fayette and Somerset counties) announced he will retire at the end of his term and will remove his name from the ballot for re-electionafter being charged with drunk driving in connection with a June 4 accident. You can read Dowling’s statement here. The local Republican party will select a candidate to run in his stead.

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