Wednesday, May 22, 2013
As much as $515 million in costs and savings of Medicaid expansion were mis-estimated by the IFO, according to the Corbett Administration.
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG — The administration of Gov. Tom Corbett says a report on Medicaid expansion by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office improperly claims as much as $515 million as savings, revenue or underestimated costs to the state. The IFO report, published in April and updated last week to reflect new information, showed expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania would produce $180 million in savings for the next during the next budget year – mostly due to shifting state-level costs to the federally funded Medicaid program. The expansion of Medicaid is a part of the federal health-care reform law, but states must voluntarily opt-in to the program, something Corbett has so far been unwilling to do. In a letter sent to …
Turnout was low, but there was still some drama in the school board primary election. Two challengers will take on incumbent directors.
Two candiates will get a chance to challenge Centennial school board incumbents in the November 5 general election. With vote totals that barely broke 500 ballots, turnout for Tuesday's school board primary election was typically low for a year without any major national races. In Region 2, which covers Ivyland and Warminster east of York Road, Mark Greiner outpaced Betty Huf in Democratic votes, 181-161. Huf crossfiled the race and gained the Republican nomination to keep her school board seat. Michael Hartline and Jane Schrader Lynch also crossfiled in Region 3, which includes the areas of Warminster west of York Road. Lynch earned enough votes to appear on both the Republican and Democratic party tickets, but Hartline fell behind …
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille is running for retention this fall, after serving two terms on the court.
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — Judges in Pennsylvania typically have no problems securing their offices in retention races. In 45 years, only Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro lost his seat in 2005, after an infamous pay raise lawmakers gave themselves in the middle of the night inflamed state voters. Eric Epstein with the government reform group Rock the Capital thinks the ease with which judges are retained should give voters pause as Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille campaigns for 10 more years this fall. “Why should people automatically vote yes?” he asked. “And what does it takes before somebody calls into question the ability of someone to serve on the bench?” A new Rock the Capital voter guide urges …
Monday, May 20, 2013
The primary election is Tuesday. Check the list below to see who is running for open positions on the county level.
Though it may lack the glamour of a national campaign, this election year is no less important, especially if you believe in the old adage, "All politics is local." The following are the candidates running for office at the county level and seeking the nomination from the Tuesday's primary (incumbents are bolded). The list has been provided by the Bucks County Board of Elections office. Pennsylvania has a closed primary, meaning that only party members can vote for candidates in their party. Democrats vote for democrats, and republicans vote for republicans. Independents cannot vote in the primary election. The general election takes place Nov. 5. The last day to register for the general is Oct.r 7. State Office Vic Stabile (R) Joseph C. …
The Office of Administration says server outages may be a thing of the past once its new contract for web services with NIC is up and running.
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — A state lawmaker continues to raise red flags about a website redesign and management contract. Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, said this week he’s concerned the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett knew it would pay millions to NIC USA, a government website design and management firm, even though the contract was entered as a “self-funded” agreement. NIC provides “eGovernment” services in 28 other states, all of which operate on a self-funded model, relying on fees added to transactions business and individuals may make online. Pennsylvania is the only state to authorize a sole-source contract. Matzie said three work orders totaling about $2.6 million are proof the administration knew this …
Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, Pennsylvanians for Accountability, targeted four GOP lawmakers in November and is now airing TV ads attacking Corbett’s education policies.
Sunday, May 19
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG — A new political nonprofit claims to be holding Gov. Tom Corbett accountable on behalf of Pennsylvanians. But the group comes up short on the accountability scale, itself. The Pittsburgh-based nonprofit is called Pennsylvanians for Accountability, and in recent weeks it has been airing television ads attacking Corbett’s policies for supposedly short-changing education in order to fund corporate tax breaks. An article published Wednesday by Public Source, an investigative reporting organization based in Pittsburgh, calls attention to the group. The ads blast Corbett for playing a “shell game” that cuts money from education and forcing districts to lay-off teachers while “bankrolling big tax cuts …
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Privatization debates in the Pennsylvania General Assembly could mean changes to where Pennsylvanians can buy six packs.
Saturday, May 18
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — A simple six-pack of beer is becoming a focal point of the most substantive legislative debate on Pennsylvania alcohol laws since Prohibition. A Tuesday afternoon Senate Law and Justice Committee on liquor privatization, headed by Chairman Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, featured numerous testifiers discussing the already-private industry of beer sales. Chief among the concerns from the beer distributor industry and taverns is package reform, or allowing establishments who sell beer to sell different amounts. Under current law, beer distributors cannot sell less than a case, and bars or grocery stores with the ability to sell bottles cannot sell more than a 12-pack. The Senate, under McIlhinney’s…
Friday, May 17, 2013
Medicaid expansion continues to hang over Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and budget-making lawmakers.
Friday, May 17
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG – Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say Gov. Tom Corbett has delayed long enough on a decision about expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania. And if the governor won’t make a decision, they are ready to force his hand. “If Gov. Corbett is unwilling to do the right thing, my colleagues in the Senate must send a clear message that this is unacceptable. It’s time for a vote on Medicaid expansion,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, on Tuesday. Hughes has filed a resolution to force the state Senate to vote on Medicaid expansion. If a majority of senators support the resolution, a proposal to force the state to accept the expansion would be busted out of committee and brought …
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Centennial School Board this week appointed an architect to prepare a feasibility study to determine the best use for the district's administration building.
In conjunction with appraisals being conducted for several Centennial School District properties, the school board this week authorized a $3,500 feasibility study of its administration building. The goal, according to board member Kati Driban, is to determine the best use for the district's 78,830-square-foot building, a former elementary school situated on 16 acres on Centennial Road in Warminster Township. Because of its previous life as a school, Driban said administrators have much more space than they need. "You have spaces that were designed to be a classroom and you have a single person in there," Driban said of administrative offices. "You have essentially most of a classroom taken up with a single administrator." What do you …
The police collective bargaining unit and the township agreed to enter binding arbitration after a year of negotiations failed to produce an agreement.
Thursday, May 16
After a year of negotiations and more than four months of working under an expired contract, Upper Southampton Township officials and the police collective bargaining unit have agreed to adhere to the results of binding arbitration. Township Manager Joseph Golden said an arbitration hearing was held earlier this month to detail the contractual requests of the township and members of the township police in the collective bargaining unit, according to a story on PhillyBurbs.com. It will be several months before results of the binding arbitration are announced, the story said. State law prohibits police from striking.