News & Brews February 15, 2024

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Shapiro’s budget is ‘puppies & kittens & chocolate’

After combing through Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $48.3 billion budget proposal, House Republican Appropriations Committee Chair Seth Grove (York County) briefed members of the media yesterday on the reality of the governor’s spending plan. “Expenditures generally outpace the revenues year over year,” Grove said. “Everything sounds good when you want to give puppies and kittens and chocolate and candy to everybody. But there’s a cost to that.” Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson, and Westmoreland counties) noted, “Those are one-time dollars. In the minute you start using one-time dollars for recurring expenses you’re setting yourself up for a fiscal calamity.”

Alleged threats in Erie County House race

Tuesday’s petition filing deadline to run for Pa. House was not without its drama, specifically for two Erie County candidates. Republican Micah Goring, who’s challenging Democrat incumbent Ryan Bizzarro, alleges that Bizzarro intimidated him in an attempt to dissuade him from running. Per Goring, Bizzarro said, “It’s still not too late to stop from making the biggest mistake of your life.” Per Bizzarro, however, he said, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Bizzarro later told the Erie Times-News, “If this guy thinks those (comments) are threats than he’s not ready for prime time. He’s not a serious candidate and maybe he should consider running for president of his kids’ PTA instead.”

Rep. Boyle seeking help, and re-election

After a drunken outburst last week when he allegedly threatened to “hit female employees” at a Montgomery County Bar, Philadelphia Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle says he is “seeking help.” He is also seeking re-election, and he submitted his nominating petitions with more than 800 signatures on Tuesday’s deadline. Democrat Sean Dougherty—the nephew of former Philly labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and son of Pa. Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty—is challenging Boyle in the primary. The Inquirer reports that the younger Dougherty’s name came up several times during his uncle’s federal trial (Johnny Doc was convicted on dozens of counts including conspiracy and bribery). “According to prosecutors, Sean Dougherty was one of several of Johnny Doc’s nieces and nephews who benefited from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98. Prosecutors said the young Dougherty received union pay for weeks he spent down the Shore while he was a student at Chestnut Hill College.”

VP Harris coming to Pittsburgh next week

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to come to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, “her third trip since taking office to the second-largest city in a state that could determine the winner of the 2024 presidential election,” the Post-Gazette reports. “The visits are designed to highlight President Joe Biden’s record in office, which includes bipartisan bills to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and encourage new investments in manufacturing, and legislation passed solely with Democratic votes to pull the economy out of its pandemic-induced recession, lower health care costs and spur the development of clean energy.” (Meanwhile, inflation is high and Biden’s poll numbers are low.)

Which Pa. legislative districts have competitive primaries? 

Following Tuesday’s filing deadline, the progressive Pennsylvania Capital-Star reported, “Nearly three dozen primary contests in the Pennsylvania House and four in the state Senate emerged.” The story gives a run-down of which incumbent lawmakers are facing challengers from within their own party, along with which open seats have competitive primary elections.

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