News & Brews July 21, 2022

Behind closed doors

Property tax relief from gambling revenue has long been promised, yet remained elusive. But this year, the threshold set by the law that brought table games to Pennsylvania in 2010 was finally met. So where is the relief? The Morning Call examines the changes surrounding the Property Tax Relief Fund that received little attention in the state budget negotiations. Legislative leaders and Gov. Wolf assured that property tax relief efforts remained and the change is “semantics,” while other legislators say they feel “duped” and that a promise was “reneged.” Read more.

Back on the trail?

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke shortly before winning the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, says “physically, I have no limits” and plans to be back on the campaign trail soon. In an interview conducted virtually with the Post-Gazette, Fetterman expressed confidence in his health and ability to manage a full campaign schedule.

Could be worse

We’re 34th! And that’s reason to (somewhat) celebrate. Despite notoriously high income and corporate taxes, Pennsylvania’s sales tax rate clocks in at 34th in the nation according to a report from the Tax Foundation. However, it’s not entirely ideal. Commonwealth Foundation experts told The Center Square, “Many economists feel the sales tax is the ‘least bad tax’ in terms of economic harms, thus some of the fastest growth states (Texas, Florida, Tennessee) have higher sales tax rates, but no income tax.” Pennsylvania has a narrow tax base and 101 exclusions from the sales tax, which limits its impact.

State Supreme Court deals blow to Krasner

A challenge to the state’s use-of-force law brought forth by the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office was rejected by the state Supreme Court. The Inquirer reports, “In a 4-2 decision, the high court said that although it agrees police shootings warrant ‘serious examination, by every facet of government as well as those outside of it,’ District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office had chosen the wrong venue. …’Doing as the DAO asks … would essentially criminalize conduct the General Assembly has deemed noncriminal,’ wrote Justice Kevin Dougherty.” Broad + Liberty has more on the 19-page “special concurrence” by Justice Kevin Doughterty, a Democrat, that “will no doubt be noticed by Harrisburg Republicans.”  


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