News & Brews January 3, 2024

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The year ahead for Gov. Shapiro

The AP reports, “In 2024, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro could face a more complicated sophomore year … after his first year brought a highway collapse, a budget stalemate and friction with allies and adversaries as he navigated the battleground state’s political divides.” Although Shapiro campaigned on taking on big fights, the story notes that in year one, he actually “attempted to avoid political fights he might not win.” And “getting deals in the statehouse wasn’t necessarily Shapiro’s strong suit.”

Shapiro’s taxpayer-funded doggie door, massage sofa, & big-screen TVs

Since taking office, Gov. Shapiro has spent more than $92,000 in taxpayer dollars on renovating the governor’s mansion. Of course, every now and again it makes sense that the house needs upgrading. But some of the purchases, reported by LancasterOnline, may raise some eyebrows: “a $4,500 ‘power-reclining’ sectional sofa with heat and massage features,” “a $2,450 PlexiDor electronic dog door — presumably for first dogs Bentley and Bo,” and $6,600 for six TVs. Click here to view the list of purchases compiled by LNP. But wait, the story gets better. After the news broke, a follow-up story reported that Shapiro returned the doggie door, and his spokesperson blamed staff for buying it. Classy.

GOP Sen. Regan will not seek re-election

Republican state Sen. Mike Regan (Cumberland and York counties) announced that he will not seek re-election to a third term in the Senate. Regan was first elected to the House in 2012 and then elected to the Senate in 2016. Republican Rep. Dawn Keefer (York County) plans to run for Regan’s seat, and fellow GOP Rep. Sheryl Delozier (Cumberland County) is also eyeing a run.

New year, new (higher) pay for elected officials, new (higher) turnpike tolls for drivers

PennLive reports that the new year “brings a 3.5% pay raise for Gov. Josh Shapiro and other executive branch officials and judges across Pennsylvania. Under state law that provides for automatic pay hikes for the governor and other top officials, Shapiro’s salary will increase to $237,679 – about $8,000 more than he was paid during his first year in office….” Meanwhile, your annual turnpike toll hike (the result of power, patronage, and politics) will take effect on January 7.

Op-Ed: Lifeline scholarships provide hope

Janine Yass of the Yass Foundation writes that “[l]ocal radio, newspapers and TV” have been “consumed” by the “Eagles’ embarrassing loss to the Cardinals on New Year’s Eve day.” But while sports consistently make the front page, less attention is given “to the challenges students face daily throughout U.S. public school systems that haven’t won a single game for the home team for almost 40 years.” Yass notes, “Most parents actually need and want tickets out of schools that do not work for their kids, out of systems that confine them to areas based on their zip code. That’s why proposals like Pennsylvania’s Lifeline Scholarships hold so much promise.”

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