Politics & Policy

Keystone Thursday Morning Update

  • Pennsylvania has more than 600,000 unemployed, and there are five job-seekers for every job opportunity. The Department of Labor has released a report profiling the unemployed, and among other things, finds that the “jobless population is a cross-section of the state’s population. Unemployment has hit every demographic.”

  • The Pennsylvania legislature’s House has just passed severance tax legislation that would impact Marcellus Shale development. This is a key tax issue in the gubernatorial race, with Onorato wanting a tax to fund various agencies, and Corbett saying it would harm a still developing industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs. We’ll follow this as it moves forward.

  • Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is saying that the commonwealth risks the “worst fiscal crisis” in the nation. The state budget has ballooned 33 percent under Gov. Ed Rendell (who Dan Onorato has called a “mentor”), from $21 billion to $28 billion, while the Consumer Price Index has risen 18 percent, meaning household goods have become that much more expensive. Pennsylvania could face a budget gap roughly $5 billion, or half of what New Jersey faced when Gov. Chris Christie came to office.

  • Joe Sestak is on the air with a new ad that portrays Pat Toomey as an extreme bank-favoring politician who would eliminate all corporate taxes. Sestak features a video of Toomey where he says he thinks “the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes altogether.” The problem, though, is that Toomey has come out repeatedly saying that such an idea could never happen, and that his solution is to keep tax rates as low as possible. And isn’t that what most want?

  • Congressman Patrick Murphy, threatened in the polls by Mike Fitzpatrick in the southeastern 8th district, has taken to the air blaming Fitzpatrick’s “NAFTA style” policies for job losses in Bucks County. Battle ‘10 will cover this more in depth later today, but does it strike anyone as strange that job losses are Fitzpatrick’s fault? He served one term before losing to Murphy in 2006, who’s now been in office for four years.

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