Commentary

These states are getting hit the hardest by inflation | Wednesday Morning Coffee

Things are tough in Pa. But it could be worse — you could live in the Sun Belt

June 22, 2022 7:01 am

If you’ve pumped gas recently, you probably have not stayed as cool as this guy (Getty Images).

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

If you’ve gone grocery shopping or pumped gas recently, the chances are pretty good that you’ve winced or groaned as you watched your bill tick ever upward until it looked like the final price tag for a baseball free agent just a tad past their prime.

But as pricey as things have gotten in the Keystone State of late — and they most assuredly have — you can take some small measure of comfort in knowing that, comparably speaking, the northeast isn’t faring as badly as some other parts of the country.

Residents of the Sun Belt states are taking the brunt of the historic inflation, according to an analysis by our friends at Stateline.org.

While consumer prices rose by 8.6 percent in May from a year earlier, hitting a 41-year high, it was dwarfed by the 11.3 percent rise in the Tampa area; the 9.4 percent rise in California’s Inland Empire, and the Dallas area, which saw a 9 percent increase, Stateline reported, citing data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Taking a regional look, the states around Texas, including Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, had the largest increase at 9.9 percent, according to Stateline.

The lowest was 7.3 percent in the Middle Atlantic states from New Jersey to North Carolina, including Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to Stateline.

(Getty Images)

And while that data may be some measure of consolation, it still doesn’t mitigate the very real price rises that consumers are seeing across the economy.

Price rises for shelter, gasoline and food led the increases nationwide, Stateline reported, citing the BLS data. Gas prices are up 48.7 percent for the year, while the cost of fuel oil has more than doubled, according to Stateline.

Food prices are up 10.1 percent for the year, while the cost of shelter, which includes rent and homeowner costs, is up by 5.5 percent, according to Stateline. Costs for all other items are up by 6 percent in a year.

Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his final budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday, 2/8/22 (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

With the deadline to pass a new state budget just about a week away, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is keeping up with his push to dole out $2,000 cash payments to some Pennsylvanians as prices continue to rise. But its prospects for approval seem remote at best.

“The cost of everything from gas to groceries is a little higher right now than it was just a few weeks ago and for Pennsylvanians living paycheck to paycheck even a small increase in expenses can mean painful decisions like paying for food or rent,” said state acting Human Services Secretary Meg Snead said in a statement earlier this month. “In the Department of Human Services, I see the disadvantages in communities across Pennsylvania and these $2,000 checks would make a great impact as prices around us soar.”

The Republican-controlled General Assembly and the Democratic administration have until midnight on June 30 to reach a deal.

Pa. House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, speaks at a Capitol news conference on April, 17, 2019. (Capital-Star file photo)

Our Stuff.
Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, received daily calls from then-President Donald Trump’s campaign, seeking his support in efforts to overturn the 2020 electionMarley Parish reports.

House Republicans on Tuesday gutted a bill that would ban anyone younger than 21 years old from purchasing or possessing assault weapons, and replaced it with language from a concealed-carry bill Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed last December. Peter Hall has the story.

Members of the activist group March on Harrisburg erected a metaphoric ‘Wall of Corruption’ outside the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday, as they renewed their call for passage of a legislative gift ban. Story — with video — from me.

On our Commentary Page this morning: Republicans need to help or get out of the way as the Biden White House fights inflation, Ashley McBride, of For Our Future PA, writes. And, no, hardening schools doesn’t make students saferElizabeth K. Anthony, of Arizona State University, writes

(c) Scott Van Blarcom – Stock.Adobe.com

Elsewhere.
Pennsylvania’s May primary election set a turnout record, the Inquirer reports.

PennLive looks into whether Donald Trump’s endorsement helped or hurt GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz.

A state Senate committee has advanced Pennsylvania’s version of a ‘Don’t Say Gay‘ bill, the Post-Gazette reports.

Candidate David Ritter finally has conceded in a November 2021 Lehigh County judicial race, the Morning Call reports.

Tuition at Luzerne County Community College will rise by 4 percent, the first hike since 2019, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

A federal grant will help Philadelphians buy and retain their homesWHYY-FM reports.

WITF-FM explains Pennsylvania’s role in the 2020 fake electors scheme.

Talking Points Memo runs down some of the highlights — and lowlights — of Tuesday’s Jan. 6 committee meeting.

The Erie Zoo is in the market for a new CEO, even as it seeks reaccreditation, GoErie reports.

PoliticsPA has five takeaways from Pro Publica’s profile of Jeffrey Yass.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

 

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What Goes On
The House and Senate both come in at 11 a.m. today.
10 a.m., Capitol Media Center: A tie-in with today’s lead item: House Democrats roll out their plan to fight price gouging, and help Pennsylvania families deal with rising gas and grocery prices.

WolfWatch
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Russ Walker, at LancasterOnline, who celebrates another trip around the sun. Congratulations, sir, enjoy your day.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s one from London Grammar that I hadn’t heard for a while, but popped up very suddenly the other night. It’s the haunting ‘Wasting My Young Years.’


Wednesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
The Washington Senators blanked the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

And now you’re up to date.

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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.

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