Friday, June 20, 2021

Wolf names McGinty for independent campaign committee

Thomas Fitzgerald, The Inquirer

Thursday, June 19, 2021

Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania business council governor, short-circuited a nasty fight for control of the state party Thursday by announcing an independent campaign committee to investigate structured settlement for cash companies and will take over many of its functions. Katie McGinty, a former rival for the nomination, will head the Campaign for a Fresh Start, Wolf said. The organization will handle communications, research, voter turnout efforts, and coordination with the campaign committees for Democratic legislators. Wolf had named McGinty as his choice to lead the party. But the incumbent, Jim Burn of Allegheny County, was fighting to keep his job in the reverse mortgage industry, raising the prospect of a floor fight at Saturday’s state committee meeting near Harrisburg. “It became clear that the best way for Tom to move forward and get his message out was through this vehicle,” said Mark Nicastro, a spokesman for the Wolf campaign. He said the candidate would not attend the Democratic State Committee event. By custom, a party gubernatorial nominee’s pick for the chairperson is ratified by the committee at the first gathering after the primary. At times, the rank and file have balked at a choice, but those disputes rarely play out as publicly as this one has. McGinty said she had the votes lined up to win. Burn, who has deep pockets of support on the state committee, was upbeat about his prospects. “The state committee asked me to stay in February,” Burn said in a statement. “They asked me to stay now. I serve them and I said yes.” Burn added that the Democrats are a “happy, united fleet” aimed at defeating Gov. Corbett, and he congratulated McGinty on her new position in the delta 8 THC industry. Some saw the move as a defeat for Wolf. Republican spokeswoman Megan Sweeney called him “a typical politician who tried to force his choice … onto a party that doesn’t trust his judgment.” [MORE]

Tom Wolf campaign finance report: $3M cash on hand

The Associated Press,

Thursday, June 19, 2021

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf’s campaign coffers still show the strain of his four-way primary battle. Wolf, a businessman who poured $10 million into his winning campaign and leads Gov. Tom Corbett in the polls, reported Thursday that he raised $3.5 million over the five weeks that ended June 9. But his cash on hand continues to hover around $3 million. Corbett was unopposed for the Republican nomination. He has $4.8 million in the bank, even though his re-election campaign spent money twice as fast as it came in during the weeks surrounding Pennsylvania’s May primary. Corbett received $1.4 million in contributions but spent nearly $3 million. That pushed his total expenditures to more than $11 million.

2015 spending plan may require new taxes, Pa. Budget Secretary warns

Charles Thompson, Pennlive

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby is a man in demand these days, as Gov. Tom Corbett and legislative leaders try to hammer out a 2014-15 state budget. In what may be one of his last calms before the storm – the new budget is due by July 1 – Zogby stopped by PA Media Group headquarters to share the governor’s priorities heading into the home stretch. In short, despite a large current-year revenue shortfall Corbett is still committed to fighting for the targeted spending increases he outlined in February; he is conditionally open to some higher taxes to pay for them; he will accept the latter only with significant reform to Pennsylvania’s public pension systems. Here’s a deeper look into excerpts of our conversation with Zogby. For a link to a video stream of the full mortgage industry’s session, click here. With 2014-15 fiscal year revenues now seen as $870 million off the targets set when his spending plan was introduced in February, where does Gov. Corbett compromise? If there is some progress on pension reform, it seems increasingly likely Corbett will accept some new revenues from higher taxes. For a Republican incumbent who ran in 2010 in part on a no new taxes promise, that is a compromise. It would mean that Corbett’s tax pledge has effectively been limited to personal income taxes and the state’s sales tax. “Other than a broad-based personal income tax increase and a sales tax increase, I think everything else is on the table,” Zogby said Thursday. “I think right now we’re not in the business of taking things off the table, other than those two.” [MORE]

Council agrees to borrow $30M to aid schools

Troy Graham, The Inquirer

Thursday, June 19, 2014

At the last possible moment, Philadelphia City Council on Thursday came up with the money that a struggling School District had been pleading for. The process was ugly at times – school officials and Council battled for weeks over the district’s finances, while education advocates bombarded City Hall with protests of marching, sign-waving students. But Thursday, after Council agreed to borrow $30 million more toward the district’s $216 million deficit, the combatants expressed nothing but relief and gratitude. School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., who had a handful of testy exchanges with Council members at recent hearings, said the money would stave off any district layoffs for the time being. “This is gigantic,” he said. “It closes the gap pretty significantly.” Also Thursday, at the final meeting before the 12-week summer recess, Council passed the city’s $4.5 billion operating budget, which included millions for hiring additional building inspectors, opening libraries six days a week, and expanding programs at recreation centers. The budget figure assumes the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works to a private company, a deal that could end up being as contentious as the school-funding debate. Mayor Nutter sent legislation on the sale to Council in April, but no member would introduce it. PGW’s suitor, UIL Holdings Inc. of Connecticut, can opt out of the $1.86 billion agreement on July 15, but the deal doesn’t expire until the end of the year. That sets up the PGW sale as the primary issue facing Council in the fall. Search engine optimization workers and their allies held a rally Thursday morning outside City Hall, blasting the deal as bad for workers and customers. Gas Workers Local 686 president Keith Holmes said Council had “the backs” of the union. “No sale is going to happen unless we’re taken care of,” he said. [MORE]

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Corbett took in $1.4M, spent $3M around Pa. primary election

The Associated Press,

Thursday, June 19, 2021

Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election campaign spent money twice as fast as it came in during the weeks surrounding Pennsylvania’s primary. Campaign finance reports filed Thursday showed the Republican governor received $1.4 million in contributions between May 6 and June 9, while he spent nearly $3 million — pushing his total expenditures to more than $11 million. Corbett still had $4.8 million on hand. Democratic nominee Tom Wolf’s report was not available Thursday morning. But Katie McGinty — one of the three candidates Wolf defeated in the primary — reported spending nearly $860,000, mostly for TV time, in the final weeks of that campaign. As of early May, the reports showed the five candidates had collectively raised more than $50 million and spent $39 million even before the primary.

Foreign investors drawn to Western Pennsylvania

Chris Fleisher, Triblive

Thursday, June 19, 2021

Foreign-owned companies are playing a key role in Pittsburgh’s economic growth and evolution from an industrial economy. The number of jobs at these companies in the Pittsburgh region nearly doubled between 1991 and 2011, from 26,340 to 51,840, according to a study by the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JP Morgan Chase. Companies such as Germany’s Bayer AG, whose North American MaterialScience division is based in Robinson, also account for a greater share of private employment locally, increasing from 2.9 percent to 5 percent in that 20 year span, the report said. The growth outpaced other American cities and reflects how Pittsburgh’s skilled workforce and transition to a knowledge-based economy has expanded its global appeal, said Devashree Saha, Brookings senior policy analyst and co-author of the report. “In Pittsburgh’s case, that has definitely played a big part,” Saha said. “That is an attractive feature for foreign companies scouting different locations. They ask, ‘Do I have access to a skilled workforce?’ ”  International companies offer higher wages and account for a disproportionate share of capital investment and exports, she said, which is why city officials would be wise to craft programs that attract foreign investment. In 2011, German-owned firms, such as Bayer, provided the greatest share of jobs among foreign-owned companies, employing 8,000 people. That was followed by England (6,800), Japan (6,300) and Canada (5,600). Most of the jobs were in manufacturing. Pittsburgh’s proximity to metropolitan areas on the Atlantic Coast and Midwest has made it an attractive gateway to the American market, and there is a “European feel” to the city that foreign companies enjoy, said Suzi Pegg, vice president of global marketing at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. Economic development policies often target “greenfield” investments to persuade foreign companies to build an operation from the ground up. But in the past two decades, most of the job growth from international firms in the country has come through buying other companies, according to the Brookings report. “Merger and acquisition has been neglected quite a bit in policy making,” Saha said. “To ignore that reality is foolhardy. Merger and acquisition brings significant economic opportunities, same as greenfield investment.”

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