News & Brews September 5, 2023

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Pitt fracking studies got it wrong

A few weeks ago, headlines around the state announced that new taxpayer-funded studies suggested a link between fracking and asthma symptoms and lymphoma. Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan notes, however, “These reports found no causation for any of the health risks that were studied.” Instead, the studies looked at “the effect on a possible correlation with peoples’ proximity to wells, rather than finding any actual pathways of exposure.” And, “Despite receiving nearly $3 million in taxpayer funding, researchers never visited shale gas sites.” What’s more, they “refused opportunities to do so, didn’t take air or water samples, or generate any new, original data or measurements.”

These Pa. counties have highest property tax burdens

The Center Square reports that Monroe and Pike counties in northeastern Pa. have the highest property tax burdens in the state, at 4.73% and 3.81%, respectively. This according to a report from the Independent Fiscal Office. The IFO defines the property tax burden as “the ratio of total property taxes to total income.” The lowest burden was in Snyder County, at 1.51%.

Op-Ed: ‘Labor unions have lost their way’

Our friend Elisabeth Messenger, president and CEO of Americans for Fair Treatment, details in the Wall Street Journal how unions have strayed from their “original purpose” and now put “politics above workers’ needs.” The National Education Association, for example, “spent $49.2 million on political activities in 2021-22, surpassing the amount spent on membership representation by $3.5 million.” The solution? Unions “should refocus their efforts on the needs and concerns of their members rather than pouring vast sums of money into divisive politics.”

Op-Ed: ‘Unions against teachers’

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Fellow for Labor Policy David Osborne writes in Law & Liberty how unions “are actively harming rank-and-file teachers by exposing them to career-ending—and sometimes bankruptcy-inducing—liability.” The tension comes as unions have veered far left on highly charged social and political issues—and now seek to punish teachers who disagree.

Lawmakers propose requiring businesses to take cash

GOP Rep. Russ Diamond (Lebanon County) and Democrat Sen. Lisa Boscola (Lehigh and Northampton counties) are proposing legislation to require businesses to accept cash for purchases. The lawmakers note that requiring credit cards can harm low-income individuals who may not have access to credit and seniors who use cash. The National Federation of Independent Business Pennsylvania opposes the measure. NFIB state director Greg Moreland said, “We think each business owner should have the ability to operate their business the way they see fit. If a customer doesn’t like that they don’t take cash, they don’t have to shop there.”

Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Austin Davis & Second Lady

Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and his wife, Blayre Holmes Davis, announced the birth of their baby girl, Harper, this weekend. We extend our congratulations to Lt. Gov. Davis and his family!

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