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The Monthly Report - Decmeber 2017

Senate Appropriations Committee Report December 2017 Committee Website View Report Online (all tables and graphics can be viewed online) **Earlier this week, the Fitch rating ...

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REAL ID Update: Do You Need One?

Weekly Roundup Friday, December 08, 2017 The latest news from the State Capitol REAL ID Update: Get Your Documents EarlyPennDOT launched a public ...

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THREE VIDEO CLIPS THAT SUGGEST THE HOLLYWOOD SEXUAL ABUSE SCANDAL WAS AN OPEN SECRET

JOHN LIVINGSTON/ Gary DeMar THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF SURPRISE EXPRESSED BY EXECUTIVES IN HIGH PLACES OVER THE ERUPTION OF ...

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Democrat outraged to learn taxpayers paid $220,000 sexual harassment claim against him

        Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) says he is outraged to learn that a settlement was made on his behalf to pay ...

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Disney Suspends Executive Jon Heely After Felony Child Sex Abuse Charges

Written by Ben Kew/Blabber Buzz Disney’s director of music publishing, Jon Heeley, has been charged with three counts of sexually abusing children, Variety reports. Heely, ...

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Top Dem in Tennessee Senate Race Has Record of Covering Up Sexual Assault Allegations

As governor, Phil Bredesen's office covered up details of harassment allegations against top officials Phil Bredesen / Getty Images BY: Brent Scher /  the Washington ...

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The Sexual Harassment Storm and its Effect on Washington

~ American Liberty Report What began with a sexual harassment fishing expedition by the media and Democrats to prevent Donald Trump ...

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Ret. FBI Supervisor Says Dep. Director Gave Him Orders Protecting Hillary

BY KIM SMITH /Conservative Tribune Testimony from Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis revealed that the level of political bias that exists in the ...

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Mueller Team Spotlight: He Hired the Lawyer Who Repped Clinton Staffer Who Smashed Her Devices

VIRGINIA KRUTA | IJR Alex Wong/Getty Images Ever since former FBI Director Robert Mueller was chosen to spearhead the investigation into possible ties between ...

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Erik Prince Accuses Obama Officials of Illegal Spying

Blackwater founder says his rights were violated by U.S. spying on Seychelles meeting Erik Prince / Getty Images BY: Bill Gertz / the Washington Free ...

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UPDATE: Don’t Call it Recurring Revenue; It’s a Tax Increase

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UPDATE: Not much has changed on the budget since last week. On the plus side, Governor Wolf changed his position on using fund transfers to balance the budget. He went from saying all of the money proposed in the fund transfers (see here) was promised to other projects and there was no way it could be used to balance the budget; his current position is that $500 million is available to use to balance the budget.On the downside, Republican leadership in both chambers of the General Assembly seem dead-set on making Pennsylvania less competitive by raising taxes on targeted industries. The first target, which now seems to be off the table, was commercial warehousing. According our sources, Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana County) was advocated for making lease payments on warehouse space subject to the sales tax. The fact that this tax would have made Pennsylvania non-competitive and put thousands of people out of work seems to have eliminated this proposal from consideration. The latest proposal would be to nearly double the Commonwealth’s hotel tax rate. Again, one of the chief advocates for the higher tax rate is Rep. Dave Reed.

As we have repeatedly noted, a better long-term solution would be to actually cut spending rather robbing from Peter to pay Paul. We’ll let you know about any changes as they develop.

Politicians have long used Orwellian double-speak to hide their true intentions. The latest iteration of this trend in Pennsylvania is the Governor’s, Senate’s and House Democrat’s insistence on including “recurring revenue” in any budget agreement. Recurring revenue sounds much more pleasant than what they’re really talking about: tax increases.

Roughly three months ago Republican leadership in the Senate, ceded their super-majority when fourteen Republicans voted with twelve Democrats to pass a Fiscal Code that balanced the budget on the backs of taxpayers. The Senate’s plan, supported by Governor Wolf, would raise taxes on heating bills, cell phone bills, and online purchases. As our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation noted in a recent blog post, the General Assembly has raised taxes four times in the last eight years. These previous tax hikes haven’t solved Pennsylvania’s financial problems. Instead, it has been like a death from a thousand cuts for taxpayers.

Departing from the usual routine of raising taxes, House Republicans offered alternatives to the status quo. The first plan we told you about would have reduced overhead expenses and saved tax payers $370 million. A second plan, which ultimately passed the House would have used surplus, off-budget funds to fill the gap. Unfortunately, only seven Senators sided with taxpayers and voted in favor of using funds already in state coffers.

The next step in the budget process is House and Senate leadership will establish a conference committee and try to work out their differences. The deals hashed out by conference committees rarely work out in taxpayer’s favor because it is a closed-door process. The public, and most lawmakers, usually do not have time to review the finished product. Remember the 2005 middle-of-the night pay raise? That legislation came out of a conference committee too.

Please, take a few moments and email the General Assembly. Let them know that you will be watching their actions closely and that they need to cut spending and use money already collected by the Treasury in order to balance the budget.

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