Story of the day: Tom Corbett released his proposed 2013-14 budget yesterday — a strictly by-the-numbers look is here, and reactions from around the state are bundled together here. We'll have our own look at some of the key provisions, but for now, suffice it to say that you shouldn't be fooled by headlines talking about increases in education spending or anything else, because all of these figures have an asterisk attached. They all depend on Corbett getting his way on policy items — like changing pensions, raffling off state stores, and raising a gas tax — that will prove controversial.
Corbett's budget also reveals he has no intention of expanding the state Medicaid program, despite the availability of a large federal subsidy to cover healthcare costs for the poor. The good folks at the Pennsylvania Health Access Network are disappointed.
We haven't had a "heads up" the past two days due to some technical problems — I technically didn't have time to do it. So I'm getting this piece about yet another Republican attempt to rig the outcome of the next presidential election out to you a little late. This time around, the idea is to award the state's electoral votes proportionally: A candidate who got 45 percent of the popular vote, for example, would get 45 percent of the state's electoral votes. I suppose it's less egregious than previous plans to award votes by Congressional district, since districts themselves are gerrymandered. But all these "reforms" suffer from the same problem: Doing them in "blue" trending states but not red ones — or vice versa — is just another way of tilting the playing field.
Yeah, state attorney general Kathleen Kane is getting lots of attention for investigation how Corbett handled the Jerry Sandusky case, but this announcement interests me much more. Kane is joining a federal lawsuit against Standard and Poors, alleging that the credit-ratings agency offered fraudulent ratings of mortgage-based securities. Those ratings were a pivotal component of Wall Street's collapse and the ensuing recession.
Meanwhile, in Allegheny County, yet another authority head is chopped off. Less than a week after Steve Bland's removal as CEO of the Port Authority, Brad Penrod has been demoted. And just as Bland was faulted for not luring more state money, the chief complaint with Penrod seems to be that he didn't attract more flights. In what we are assured is not related news, Vince Gastgeb — the longtime Republican county councilor who was recently hired by the authority to attract more flights — has stepped down from his council post.
Thinking of switching your electricity provider? Be sure to do your homework first.
And finally, happy birthday to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who announced the event with this tweet: