News & Brews October 31, 2022

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Shapiro ‘crushes’ Mastriano in home-stretch fundraising

The latest campaign finance reports, which detail money raised and spent from September 20 through October 24, were due on Friday. Democrat gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro raised nearly $16.5 million (including in-kind contributions) and ended the cycle with nearly $5.8 million cash on hand. Mastriano, meanwhile, raised just shy of $2 million (also including in-kinds) and closed out the cycle with a bit over $1.3 million in the bank. All told and counting in-kinds, since the beginning of 2021, Mastriano has raised about $7 million to Shapiro’s nearly $69 million.

Biden and Harris stump for Fetterman in Philly

At Friday’s event where President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris campaigned for Democrat Senate candidate John Fetterman, Biden claimed, “Democracy is on the ballot this year” and argued that “John IS Pennsylvania.” Will the president’s visit make a difference in the tight race that has Democrats super concerned, particularly after Fetterman’s debate performance last week? I guess we’ll have to wait until Election Day (or a week … or two or three … later) to find out.

Is Pa. a ‘proxy fight’ between Biden and Trump?

Beyond being one of the nation’s hottest political battleground states, Pennsylvania, according to POLITICO, has now also become a “proxy fight” between President Biden and former President Trump. While POTUS was in Pa. on Friday to campaign for John Fetterman, the previous POTUS is scheduled to come back to Pa. on Nov. 5 to stump for Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano. POLITICO contends, “The stops foreshadow a likely 2024 rematch and escalate the posturing between the two that’s been simmering since Biden vanquished Trump two years ago, thanks in large part to reclaiming Pennsylvania.” That said, some (dare I say many?) question the likelihood of a Biden re-election campaign.

Report: Pa. taxpayers could be on hook for estimated $2B in Medicaid payments to ineligible recipients

A new report from the Commonwealth Foundation notes that today in Pennsylvania, “more than 500,000 Medicaid recipients are ineligible for the program. New Biden administration rules that limit eligibility verification are expected to increase program costs nationally by $100 billion over five years. Pennsylvania’s share could top $2 billion.” While Medicaid is “designed to focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens … [p]olicies that expanded Medicaid eligibility to healthy, working-aged people and do not require the verification of eligibility have expanded the size and complexity of a program.” Read more here.

Poof! Pa. state pension plans lose billions

During the three months ending June 30, the value of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) dropped from $74.6 billion to $69.8 billion, a 6% fall. Meanwhile, the value of the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) dropped by $3.7 billion, or 10%, during the same time period. The Inquirer notes, “When stock values crash, as they did in 2001 and 2008, a rebound can take years. Patient investors — university endowments, retirement savers with other income — can wait. But pensions have to keep paying retirees, and a long downturn makes them much more expensive for employers. And when those retirees worked for the government, taxpayers foot the bill.”

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