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Politics & Government

This Week in PA Politics 10/6

Two Corbett staffers resign with connections to lewd emails. The story surrounding the sending of sexually explicit emails among Tom Corbett’s staffers while he held the position of Attorney General got more interesting. As more information was released to Corbett and news outlets, Environmental Protection Secretary Christopher Abruzzo and his colleague Glenn Parno have resigned from their posts, reports 90.5 WESA’s Mark Nootbaar. Abruzzo took indirect responsibility for the allegations, while Parno has yet to release a statement. State police Commissioner Frank Noonan is also said to have been involved in the email ring. All three worked in the AG’s office during Corbett’s tenure.

Kane’s gradual releasing of lewd emails called into question. In further news surrounding the Attorney General’s investigation, current AG Kathleen Kane is now coming under fire for her “piecemeal” disclosure of emails related to the investigation, reports 90.5 WESA’s Mary WIlson. Furthermore, all eight men who are implicated in the sending of lewd emails are Republicans and no longer working for the AG’s office, while those still employed by the office are currently protected “because of union agreements, office policies and ‘legal bounds.’” Both Governor Corbett and Chief Justice Ronald Castille have hinted at a political motive for the way Kane has handled the case.

PA tax revenues come in a tick above what was expected. 90.5 WESA’s Kevin Gavin breaks down the ins and outs of the tax revenue surplus amassed during the first quarter of the 2014-15 fiscal year. Gavin warns, however, that the surplus is small and does not necessarily dictate what we can expect for the rest of the year.

Lavallee holds rally outside incumbent Kelly’s office. Quiet up until this point, Democratic candidate in the PA-3 race, Dan LaVallee, held a rally and a press conference in front of Mike Kelly’s (R-PA 3) office in Sharon, Pennsylvania, reports 90.5 WESA’s Vincent Smith. LaVallee excited the crowd by claiming the district is ready for new leadership. Kelly, for his part, was unimpressed with the political gesture.

Bill to change the Act 47 program heads to state House. After passing through the state Senate, the Act 47 overhaul, which would create program deadlines as well as more room to expand service taxes, heads to the House, reports 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson. The legislation, which would also allow for expanded state intervention in financial crises, would apply to all municipalities that are now under the Act 47 program, excluding Pittsburgh.  

Second gubernatorial debate focuses on taxes, budgets, and education. In the second of three gubernatorial debates, Democrat Tom Wolf and Republican Tom Corbett met in Philadelphia where they exchanged blows on budgets and education, reports WHYY’s Holly Otterbein. The Attorney General email scandal was brought up, and Governor Corbett countered by asking Wolf to fully explain his plan for changing the state tax code. Otterbein reports there was no clear cut winner this time around.

 

House Majority PAC retracts ad time it allotted for PA-6. In a race the pits Democrat Manan Trivedi against Republican Ryan Costello, Democratic-leaning House Majority PAC will no longer play a prominent role in the advertising. The PAC had allotted more than half a million dollars in ad money to help boost Trivedi’s chances but the PAC has pulled out of that commitment, reports WHYY’s Holly Otterbein. Speculation that Trivedi cannot beat Costello in November is becoming more pronounced.

 

Property tax reform in order, new report says. In order to help areas that experience higher than usual property taxes, a new report calls for tax reform focusing on those specific school districts, reports 90.5 WESA’s Irina Zhorov.  A proposed Senate bill that would do away with property taxes set by school districts is deemed insufficient to ameliorate the current problem, the report says.

City Paper breaks down the gubernatorial education squabble. Pittsburgh City Paper’s Rebecca Nuttall discusses the gubernatorial education battle in a new feature. Nuttall talks to the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers who claim that whether state funding is higher than it has ever been or not, cuts have been made and their effects have been felt.