Commentary

Nope, no budget yet. Three things to know | Tuesday Morning Coffee

Five days into the new fiscal year, negotiations are reportedly in their ‘final stages’

July 5, 2022 7:20 am

(Getty Images)

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Today is Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

The 2022-23 budget year is but a mere five days old. And like any newborn, there’s no small amount of crying, screaming, and messes standing between the way of the Republican-controlled General Assembly, the Democratic Wolf administration, and the start of a semi-peaceful summer break.

As the Capital-Star’s Peter Hall reported last week, lawmakers canceled planned holiday weekend sessions with a deal still out of reach. And leaders were slated to work through the weekend in search of an accord.

So, with that framing, here’s three things to know at the start of this new week.

1. Where do things stand? As PennLive’s Jan Murphy reports, legislative negotiators were still working, as of Monday afternoon, to resolve their differences. They were making “steady, positive progress,” according to House Republican spokesperson Jason Gottesman. That sentiment was echoed by a spokesperson for Senate Democrats, who told Murphy that things were “close but not finished just yet.”

2. And the sticking points are, what, exactly?: House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said Friday that the pinch points included higher education, K-12 education, mental health spending, and reducing the state’s debt, the Capital-Star previously reported. Lawmakers also were trying to figure out how to spend $2.2 billion in federal pandemic aid.

Leaders have said reducing the corporate net income tax and discussion of a gaming expansion are also in the mix, the Capital-Star previously reported.

As PennLive’s Murphy reports, the final spending plan is expected to include a roughly $1 billion boost to state support for public education; an increase to a state program that provides tax credits to businesses that donate to private school scholarship funds, and more generous property tax and rent rebates for low- to moderate-income senior citizens and people living with disabilities.

3. So what’s the schedule, anyway? As of this writing, both the House and Senate are expected to return to session on Wednesday.

“From a Senate Republican perspective, our members like all Pennsylvanians are feeling the pains of the inflationary policies set by the Biden administration,” Senate Republican spokesperson Erica Clayton Wright said in an email. “Our goal is to land on a budget that reflects an investment in Pennsylvania’s greatest asset — our people. As part of that investment, we will ensure future [financial] stability with no new taxes or tax increases.”

Stick with the Capital-Star today and throughout the week for the latest.

Allegheny County Jail (Image via Pittsburgh City Paper)

Our Stuff.
Allegheny County has been sued after officials at the county jail allegedly failed to prevent an incarcerated person’s suicide, our friends at the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism report.

ICYMI:
Calls for new gun restrictions inevitably follow most American mass shootings, including the one that killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket six weeks ago. But in the wake of the Tops supermarket massacre, legislators in New York State and several other states also have turned their attention to a new target: civilian body armor. Our friends at Stateline.org have the details in a special report.

A former Pennsylvania congressman’s U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the state’s new congressional district map will most likely take a back seat to a similar case from North Carolina, but the implications for future elections in the commonwealth could be dire, constitutional law experts say. Senior Reporter Peter Hall has the story.

If state lawmakers ever move to ban abortion, a member of Pittsburgh City Council says he wants to make sure access in the city will remain protected, our friends at the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism also report.

On our Commentary Page this morning: Attacks on abortion rights and Jan. 6 revelations could sway voters to the Democrats this mid-term cycle, Mansfield University political science professor Jonathan C. Rothermel writes. And expanded paid time off is an easy way for companies in anti-abortion states to help employeesUniversity of Oregon legal scholar Elizabeth C. Tippett writes.

Hundreds of protestors rally in Harrisburg on Saturday, May 14, 2022, to promote abortion access. (Capital-Star photo by Marley Parish)

Elsewhere.
The Inquirer looks at Josh Shapiro’s and Doug Mastriano’s contrasting records on abortion rights.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th Districtis pushing a six-week abortion ban — which is before most people even know they are pregnant, WESA-FM reports.

NYMag’s Intelligencer considers whether Dobbs might eventually be overturned, just as Roe was overturned.

Former CBS-21 anchor Robb Hanrahan, a dear friend and colleague, has died, aged 60, his former station announced Monday.

State lawmakers passed a bill late last week giving health care providers and insurance companies access to mental health records, the Morning Call reports.

Two Philadelphia Police officers were shot during Fourth of July celebrations on Ben Franklin ParkwayWHYY-FM reports.

A summer jobs program for Erie’s youth is seeking donations of equipment and suppliesGoErie reports.

Four Democrats have joined a Republican-backed push to investigate Philadelphia District Attorney Larry KrasnerCity & State Pa. reports.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., 82, is recovering from hip replacement surgeryRoll Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

WolfWatch
As of this writing, Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today..

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out to PennLive’s Jennifer Palik, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation
Every band has at least one polarizing LP in its catalogue. ‘Monster,’ R.E.M.’s 1994 excursion into grunge and glam, is just such a record. Fan opinion is deeply divided. And every used record store has a copy. But, a quarter-century after its release, it’s gained its rightful place in the band’s canon. Here’s one of the standout tracks: ‘Crush with Eyeliner.’


Tuesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link
Nottingham Forest are closing in on a deal to sign center-back Moussa Niakhaté from Mainz, the Guardian reports, as it rounds up the latest in summer transfer news.

And now you’re up to date.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

MORE FROM AUTHOR