News & Brews May 1, 2024

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Court rejects request to review panel’s mail-in-ballot ruling

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will not reconsider the ruling of a three-judge panel of the court that upheld Pa.’s requirement that mail-in ballots must be accurately dated in order to be counted. The plaintiffs—a cadre of Democrat-aligned organizations—had asked the full court to review the ruling. The groups are now reportedly considering their next options.

Poll: Casey leads McCormick 46% to 42%

A new Emerson College/The Hill poll released yesterday shows incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey leading Republican challenger David McCormick 46%-42%, with 12% undecided. The poll of 1,000 registered voters has +/- 3% “credibility interval” (described as similar to a margin of error). The Cook Political Report ranks the race as “leans Democratic.” Meanwhile, Republicans are releasing a new ad today tying Casey’s support for student loan forgiveness to the anti-Israel protests on college campuses. (The Inquirer, which of course, loves Casey, argues this is “quite a leap.” But if these anti-Israel protesters would be eligible to have their loans covered by taxpayers…is it really a leap?)

Dem lawmaker pitches higher local sales taxes

Democrat state Rep. Mike Starla (Lancaster County) wants to raise your sales taxes. Per legislation he’s proposed, counties would be able to add their own 1% sales tax to the statewide 6% rate. (Allegheny and Philadelphia counties are already permitted to have an additional 1% and 2% sales tax, respectively). Of the tax revenue, CNHI News reports, “First priority would be to cover a municipality’s minimum pension obligation for those who are distressed. The remaining revenue would be used for core municipal services or lower property tax rates.” Hmm. How about looking for ways to root out any unnecessary spending before trying to raise taxes. What a thought! The story notes that the legislation may soon come up for a committee vote.

GOP primary down to 4 votes, with hearing Friday on challenged ballots 

The Luzerne County House primary race between incumbent GOP state Rep. Mike Cabell and Jamie Walsh remains too close to call, with Walsh holding a four-vote lead as of yesterday. A hearing is scheduled for Friday on 13 provisional ballots that are being challenged. And today, the county board of elections will continue reviewing primary ballots, including write-in votes.

Tax breaks for newspaper subscriptions? What could go wrong! 

Decrying what he views as an “existential crisis” facing local journalism, Democrat state Rep. Josh Siegel (Lehigh County) wants to give tax breaks to those who support it. The Morning Call reports that he’s pitching two bills: “The first bill creates a tax credit for individuals who subscribe or donate to a local paper to help support and sustain them around the state. The second creates a tax credit for companies that donate to support and sustain Pennsylvania’s PBS affiliates.” Of course, this would mean government defines what a credible outlet is. Would right-leaning news outlets meet the criteria? Would the dark-money-incubated progressive Pennsylvania Capital-Star count? So many problems with this … just … so … many.

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