Our legislature’s fondness for taxing the addictions of its constituents — to wit: the nation’s 10th-highest cigarette tax, the state booze monopoly, slots parlors and casino table games — continues apace as it considers legalizing (and heavily taxing) such pursuits as online poker. I reckon its easier to soak the boozy and betting masses than to enact a sensible severance tax on the state’s billion-dollar natural gas industry.
The Courtright administration clogs the public-records line. The mayor and his appointees to the Scranton Sewer Authority have refused to release unredacted records pertaining to the authority’s sale, or request an state audit of the sale.
State GOP House Speaker Mike Turzai is considering a run for the governor’s office next year, and spent some time recently with some of his core constituents. He addressed a “Make the Second Amendment Great Again” (as if it isn’t anymore) rally in Harrisburg composed of firearm fans who — against all apparent evidence — believe the gummint wants to take away their God-given right to own a gun.
Gene Talerico obliterated incumbent Shane Scanlon for the GOP nod in the Lackawanna County District Attorney primary, ending what had been a brutal and personal political contest.
There are municipal primary elections in Pennsylvania today. Don’t forget to exercise your franchise. Your uncle would be disappointed.
It’s fairly obvious that, like most Americans, Sen. Pat Toomey doesn’t care much for the current occupant of the Oval Office. Every time Trump wanders into some domestic, foreign, legal or cultural fiasco of his own making, Pennsylvania’s junior senator goes into radio silence. When finally cornered, as he was following Trump’s tangled dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, Toomey mumbles something about “unfortunate timing” or some such, and then half-heartedly mouths the GOP’s party-line defense of Trump’s latest indefensible act. He’s like the little kid playing centerfield, hoping against hope that no one hits the ball to him.
Scranton School Board President Bob Sheridan and fellow board director Bob Casey both accepted campaign contributions from vendors doing business with the school district, a no-no spelled out in the board’s own ethics policy. Sheridan claims he was unaware of the policy — which passed unanimously, by the way — and defended accepting the donations as a First Amendment right (which evidently includes the right to ethical cluelessness).
Ex-federal convict and erstwhile state Sen. Bob Mellow wants his $246,000 annual state pension restored. Many, us included, think that’s a bad idea.