WashPost back Murphy bill

Published by James O'Toole on .

Rep. Tim Murphy is getting more recognition of the mental health care bill he's crafted.  The editorial board of the Washington Post endorsed the measure, a move that Muprhy's office was quick to spotlight.  Mr. Murphy has plenty of time to work on the bill since he has not opposition for re-election this year.  the Post said in part:

"The Affordable Care Act has significantly increased insurance coverage for mental health care. But that may not be enough to expand access to sparse mental-health-care resources. Besides, the government is already spending billions on mental illness treatment; it has an interest in making sure taxpayers get results.

"Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) has a bill that would do so. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act is more comprehensive than other recent efforts to reform the system and perhaps has the brightest prospects in a divided Congress. The bill would reorganize the billions the federal government pours into mental health services, prioritizing initiatives backed by solid evidence and tracking their success . It would change the way Medicaid pays — or, in this case, underpays — for certain mental health treatments. It would fund mental health clinics that meet certain medical standards. And it would push states to adopt policies that allow judges to order some severely mentally ill people to undergo treatment.''



Corbett enlists Thornburgh

Published by James O'Toole on .

The Corbett administration has long been counting on an improving jobless numbers to reverse the daunting poll numbers that have so far clouded his re-election prospects.   The Bureau of Labor Stastics cooperated this week in showing the state's unemployment dropping to 6 percent, below the national rate of 6.7 percent.  The campaign enlisted former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, who barely managed gain his own re-election in the face of a troubled economy, to herald the new numbers.

“Pennsylvania continues to head in the right direction thanks to Governor Tom Corbett who has kept taxes low and helped the private sector put Pennsylvanians back to work,” Thornburgh said in the statement distributed by the campaign.  “Ginny and I have been proud to watch Tom lead our Commonwealth, and his effectiveness over these past three years was seen yet again today as unemployment continues to decline.  We know he isn’t done with the job at hand, but our progress and bright future are certain under Governor Tom Corbett.” 

So there.


McCord hits Wolf on tax plan

Published by James O'Toole on .

Rob McCord came out with a new ad earler in the week that hits Tom Wolf on his support for a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas.  McCord has proposed a 10 percent tax on the Marcellus drilling.  The other Democrats, Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Katie McGinty, have also offered proposals on natural gas revenue that are in the ballpark of the Wolf plan.  But in an acknowledgment of the York businessman's frontrunner status, it's Wolf that McCord cites by name in his ad.  McCord's is the first critical ad of the Democratic campaign _ if yoiu don't count the challengers' regular attacks on Gov. Tom Corbett _ but it's not a really corrosive assault. 

McCord says in the ad that he's tired of being played for a sucker by the gas companies, implying that that's the role Wolf and the other Democratic candidates are playing with their more modest revenue demands of the growing industry. McGinty suggested at a recent debate among the Democrats, however, that the 10 percent levy McCord advocates is unrealistic and would never make it through the Legislture.  

In the ad, McCord tries to frame the debate by saying, "Are we going to ger our fair share from the fracking industry, or are we going to keep giving away the store?  Tom Wolf and the others would leave hundreds of millions of dollars in the drillers' pockets.''


Wolf tax disclosure

Published by James O'Toole on .

Tom Wolf gave the Associated press a glimpse of his 2012 tax returns.  Here's their story:

(AP) — Tom Wolf, a Democratic candidate for governor who took out a multi-million dollar loan to help finance his campaign, reported nearly $2.2 million in adjusted income in 2012.

Wolf, who runs a building materials distributor, released two pages of his 2012 tax return Thursday after seeking an extension for 2013.

The Associated Press asked each gubernatorial candidate to release their entire tax return for 2013, or 2012 if they sought an extension.

Democrats Allyson Schwartz and Katie McGinty each released entire 2012 returns. Republican Tom Corbett and Democrat Rob McCord have yet to release theirs. Republican Bob Guzzardi is declining to release his.

In 2012, Wolf reported $263,000 in taxes and $586,000 in deductions and exemptions. Income included $1.5 million in ordinary dividends, $281,000 in salary and $237,500 in interest.


Quick appeal in Guzzardi case

Published by Karen Langley on .

That was quick.

By 9:04 a.m. the state GOP's general counsel had filed an appeal of yesterday's order keeping Gov. Tom Corbett's primary challenger, Bob Guzzardi, on the ballot.

With the primary contest May 20, opponents of Guzzardi's listing need to move fast, as Lawrence Tabas, who is representing four petitioners, notes in his request that the Supreme Court expedite the appeal.

Absentee ballots for military personnel have been mailed, official absentee ballots must be printed by May 6 and counties will begin preparing ballots and programming voting machines the week of April 21, Tabas writes.

"Should appellant-petitioners prevail on appeal, election officials will need sufficient time before the Primary to print accurate paper ballots and accurately program voting machines with the correct candidates," he writes.

Guzzardi has been unavailable for comment because of Passover, but his attorney yesterday called the order to keep him on the ballot "a victory for the democratic process and Republican primary voters."