News & Brews August 14, 2023

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Incomplete state budget ‘already in the red’

Well here’s some fun news to start your Monday (or not). The recently passed state budget—which is still awaiting the passage of code bills before it can be fully implemented—is already in the red, per an analysis from the Commonwealth Foundation (CF). The Center Square reports that according to CF, “the final budget is on track to spend $900 million more than ongoing revenue by draining part of the General Fund balance.”

Philly is trying ‘guaranteed income’

Thinking it will help alleviate poverty in the city, Philadelphia plans to test a guaranteed income program. The Inquirer reports that the program “is aimed at parents who have received ‘temporary assistance for needy families’ benefits, known as TANF, from the state for more than five years. Its design: Over a year, 50 recipients of extended TANF will be granted an additional $500 per month.” And “250 other recipients will receive an additional $50.” The city’s aim is to raise people out of poverty. But a proven way to raise people out of poverty is not to invite increased dependency on government. Instead, it’s to remove government-imposed obstacles and empower individuals to achieve success.

Former Pa. union leader charged with theft

PennLive reports, “Five former leaders of the Pennsylvania corrections officers’ union have been charged with theft.” The allegation is that “they stole union funds by using credit cards for personal expenses and conspiring to conceal their actions.” Those charged include two former presidents, the former executive vice president, the former western region vice president, and the former eastern region vice president. The union represents state prison guards in Pennsylvania.

Op-Ed: Why people are leaving Pa. 

Pennsylvania’s population drain is hardly breaking news. We’ve consistently lost congressional seats following each ten-year census. And we lost about 40,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022. The Commonwealth Foundation’s Nathan Benefield breaks down why folks are leaving. According to a recent survey, “More than half of 18- to 44-year-olds have pondered leaving the Keystone State.” Their top reasons? “Desire for a lower cost of living and lower taxes.”

How Barnette joined the Ramaswamy campaign

Former U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette—who, incidentally, garnered less than 25% of the GOP primary vote in 2022—has joined Vivek Ramaswamy’s presidential campaign as the national grassroots director. McClatchy news agency looks at how that connection came about. The story also notes that Barnette “wants to elevate Ramaswamy as the next iteration of Trumpism.” Notably, “Trumpism” did not win statewide in Pa. in either 2020 or 2022.

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