Category Archives: Act 1

Raising PA Ducats

Mayor Giuliani has raised more money out of Pennsylvania than any other GOP candidate, we learn here.

[Piece by the ever helpful Josh Drobnyk, who continues to kick the big papers’ collective behinds on campaign ’08 coverage, although the HT goes to Keystone Politics]

Hillary has a similar lead over her competition in the state.

The Dems are raising more cash in PA than the GOP, which mirrors national trends.  More interestingly, the margin by which PA Dems are raising more cash over the GOP is even higher in PA than it is in states like NY and CA.  This is a little odd.

Some theorize this indicates PA is getting increasingly solidly “blue”.  I have commented elsewhere that this analysis is simplistic, and ignores a clear data point:  The GOP in PA is particularly dysfunctional.

The grassroots that blow to the right in our Commonwealth increasingly view the PA GOP leadership as an incestuous band of logrollers and featherbedders that more resemble Teamsters than fiscal conservatives when it comes to financial responsibility.  The Highmark merger, irrelevant presidential primary, anemic candidate recruitment, legislative pay-raise hangover, and inability to deal with gambling and property taxes all contribute to internal dissatisfaction here in the GOP.

It’s death by a thousand pin-pricks.  None of these issues, and others I have not mentioned, amounts to much individually.  But most GOP voters in the state don’t have to look hard to find some local GOP politico keyed into the party leadership that acts like a preening self-interested buffoon.

Of course, the climate is similar nationally.  It’s just even worse here, although probably not as bad as it is in, say, Ohio.  This explains why GOP money is staying in modest interest bearing accounts here and all over the country.

That said, the second it becomes official that Mrs. Clinton is the Dem. nominee for the general election and voters have the opportunity to seriously ponder the prospect of being hectored by Mrs. Clinton for four years I bet the purse stings will loosen up.  So I do not think things are as bleak nationally as many others do.  After all, here in PA Giuliani runs tight against Clinton in hypothetical general election polls despite all of the institutional handicaps the GOP brings to the game.

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WAM!

One of the objections often heard coucilling against  moving up our presidential primary is cost.  In order to actually go out of our way to let Pennsylvanians cast a meaningful vote on who runs the country– which is viewed as a tangential issue at best– we may have to add a small handful of secondary primaries in the spring so the spendthrifts in our midst can ask to raise our taxes.

What would be the additional cost?  Well, it’s tough to say.  I have some calls into our Dept. of State so I can sort of get a fake answer to that question.  Nobody else I can find has provided it.  We do know, though, it costs about $18 million dollars to hold primary elections in every precinct in the Commonwealth.  So in the hugely unlikely case we had to hold two primaries in half of all precincts we would be talking about $9m dollars.

Certainly not chump change.  Let’s put this is perspective, though.

Here we learn our General Assembly has set aside roughly $360m in “Walking Around Money”.  This is the money our representatives can use to dole out small grants from the useful, like for additional unbudgeted stoplights, to the corrupt, like stealth payments to cronies and contributors.  It’s pretty much a gigantic slush fund of your money dispersed according the the whims of our representives subject to little oversight.

I will grudingly give up my right, temporarily, to do something as fundamental as vote for president as soon as my represetatives become willing to give up their right to throw my money around like a satrap tosses change for beggar children.  Incidentally, the latter is not enshrined in our nation’s founding documents, so I’m probably already offering too many concessions.

In the meantime, those thieves in Harrisburg can do me a solid and let me vote.  Of course, I exclude Mike Folmer from that club, as we will hopefully be meeting for drinks sometime soon whereupon I will prevail upon him to join our cause.  See?  I’m as easily bribed as anybody!

Act 1 Post-Mortem

Tony Phyrillas has a nice eulogy for Act 1 on his blog.  Link here.  [HT to Bob Guzzardi’s frequent and helpful e-mails]

In it he lists the folks in the General Assembly who voted for this scheme.  Tony recommends we do to them what we did to their colleagues back in 2006.  While I am with Tony generally, I think Carole Rubley, who is my state rep, has earned a stay of political execution.  She voted against the pay raise, and voted against using state money to help build stadiums in Philly and Pittsburgh.  Then the state GOP rewarded her by withdrawing their support for her run for the state Senate seat currently held by Dinniman.

So anyone looked at askance by the state GOP is aces in my book, her Act 1 vote notwithstanding.

Now that Act 1 is out of the way as a potential roadblock to moving up our primary, she is also a supporter of helping Pennsylvanians have a significant say in who the major party presidential nominees are.  So read Tony’s entry, and take his advice.  I especially like how he points out what a failure Fast Eddie is turning out to be as Governor.  His endorsement was apparently political poison is last week’s primary.

Just don’t take his adivce vis a vis Rep. Rubley!

Act 1 Tanks On PA Primary Day

In a development that is good for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers and voters, the early signs indicate Act 1 Tax reform tanked yesterday in Pennsylvania’s primaries.  Lost by about 3 to 1 ratio in my Borough, and Democrats outnumber Republicans here by a margin about the same size.  The idea was to get us to give the Commonwealth permission to raise our earned income tax in exchange for unspecified real estate tax relief at an indetermined future date.  As detailed here the chances of real estate tax relief ever actually occurring were slim. 

Thus if we had approved the increase in the earned income tax we would have had to spend 100 years trying to get rid of the increase– like with the Spanish American War Phone Tax— while never actually seeing any relief on the back end.

Also, Act 1 was getting in the way of us moving our presidential primary up from April, the political equivalent of “island time”.  Thankfully, this objection will hopefully now disappear and Pennsylvania’s voters can now enjoy this fascinating right known in some circles as a “franchise”.

I saw my state representative Carole Rubley at a polling place yesterday, and she confirmed she was now down with House Bill 289, which moves our presidential primary to Feb. 5.  She did mention that she saw little action on the matter out of either party’s leadership, though.  So it is time for us to get on the case.