News & Brews March 22, 2023

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Op-Ed: What’s missing from Shapiro’s first budget 

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Scott Martin (Lancaster and Berks counties) writes that while “Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first budget address was more reasonable than others we’ve heard in recent years …serious areas of concern remain that must be addressed if our state is to create a responsible and sustainable spending plan.” Notably missing from the budget, Martin notes, are “sustainable spending levels, education reforms, and any mention of the fate of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative [in his speech].”

With Dem House majority, Philly region gets more power

The Inquirer reports that in the new General Assembly,“almost 60% of the 101 House Democrats hail from one corner of the state: the southeast.” What’s more, “The top three House leaders come from the southeast, two of whom are from Philadelphia. Southeastern representatives will serve as chairs on at least half of the state’s standing committees with the immense power of deciding which legislation gets considered. And most notably: Gov. Josh Shapiro is a Montgomery County native.” All this means Pennsylvania’s most populous region will hold even more sway in Harrisburg.

$53M later, KOP rail project is dead

The Inquirer reports that SEPTA’s King of Prussia rail extension project—which has cost at least $53 million so far—is “now dead.” On Friday, SEPTA announced it’s stopping all work on the project after realizing it simply doesn’t have the money to get it done. (Of course, SEPTA hasn’t had money for years as it’s relied on turnpike tolls for its sustainability, but that’s another story).

House committee to hold hearing this morning on regulatory reform

This morning at 10:00 a.m., the House Republican Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Josh Kail (Beaver and Washington counties), will hold a hearing “to hear the challenges of Pennsylvania’s permitting process and explore possible solutions.Among those scheduled to testify are Mike Ford, secretary of the PA Building Trades, and Kevin Sunday, director of government affairs for the PA Chamber of Business and Industry. The hearing will be live-streamed here.

Budget hearings continue today

The House Appropriations Committee will continue budget hearings today. At 10:00 a.m. the committee will hear from the Pa. State System of Higher Education, and at 1:00 p.m., the committee will hear from the Department of Agriculture. Click here for live-stream links.

Former state rep not allowed to hold two state jobs

Former state Rep. Marguerite Quinn was forced to resign her role on the Unemployment Compensation Review Board due to also holding a job in the attorney general’s office. PennLive reports, “Quinn’s resignation from the UC board was announced after PennLive had inquired about Quinn’s service in holding down both the $145,018-a-year job in the attorney general’s office and the $69,360 a year position on the UC review board.”

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