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Corman: 'This is going to be a while'

Published by Karen Langley on .

Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg Pa., Friday Jan. 16, 2015. (Chris Knight/Associated Press)Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Friday Jan. 16, 2015. (Chris Knight/Associated Press)

Leaving a meeting with the governor this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman did not sound optimistic about a quick resolution to the impasse over the state budget.

"This is going to be a while," he told reporters. "The governor's holding to the fact that he needs a broad-based tax increase. We don't believe that we do. And until that issue can be resolved, we're going to be here a while."

Mr. Corman said Republicans will continue to oppose Gov. Tom Wolf's proposals to increase the rates of the personal income and sales taxes and to expand the roster of goods and services subject to the sales tax. But he said they could consider accepting some increases in state revenue.

"We're open to discussions about some more revenue sources, if that's what he needs, around the edges," Mr. Corman said. "But we're not open to a discussion on an income tax increase. We're not open to a discussion on a sales tax increase. We're not open to a discussion on closing sales tax exemptions. Those broad-based tax increases are not going to be part of the discussion."    

Asked about proposals to raise the cigarette tax or impose a severance tax on natural gas drilling, he said: "Everything else is open for discussion."

Mr. Wolf's press secretary, Jeffrey Sheridan, said the governor wants to continue talking. But he said new recurring revenues are needed, and enough to fill the state's budget shortfall.

"He wants to find recurring revenues to close the structural budget deficit that we have, and the only way to do that is to find those new revenues," Mr. Sheridan said. "He is more than willing to continue talking with them about finding ways to do that. Right now there has not been any better ideas presented to us than increasing the personal income tax, increasing the sales tax while also providing the property tax relief that was not included in their budget."

Mr. Corman's office announced this afternoon that the Senate will return to work next week, with voting days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

pollster

1) We're just a month away from the first Republican presidential debate, so now would be a good time to check and see who might make the stage as part of the Top 10 candidates at that point, as per the Fox News rules. As we've pointed out before, Huffington Post's Pollster tool, which updates and averages poll numbers, is a good way to check and see how our favorite candidates are faring. If the debate were held today, here's what we would have. Squeaking in a No. 10 is Chris Christie, followed by Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker. At No. 5 is Rand Paul, followed by Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and Jeb Bush. And at No. 1, boys and girls – Donald Trump.

2) OK, so maybe Hillary Clinton doesn't totally hate us. She's agreed to do an interview on CNN later this week.

3) We mentioned yesterday the FBI serving search warrants in the offices of Allentown. Now, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has suspended his campaign for U.S. Senate to cooperate with the investigation.

4) The South Carolina legislature has taken the first steps toward removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of its statehouse.

5) We loved this NPR piece about how Michael Jackson killed the advertising jingle – and, simultaneously, political campaigns. But that still doesn't explain why candidates don't listen to the words of the campaign songs they choose.

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Perry on Politics: Trumping the field

Published by James M. Perry on .

(Associated Press photo)(Associated Press photo)

Donald Trump -- yes, the legendary The Donald -- is tied for second in polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire in his much-derided bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He's also running second to Jeb Bush nationally in a CNN-ORC poll.

"I am a person of faith," declared the wily campaign strategist Paul Begala, "and The Donald's entry into this race can only be attributed to the fact that the good Lord is a Democrat with a sense of humor."

Significant numbers of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and elsewhere don't appear to realize that Mr. Trump is a blowhard self-promoting billionaire who believes that Mexicans crossing into the United States "are bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." Most of them, of course, are no such thing. They're motivated the same way his grandfather, Friedrich Drumph, was when he and his wife emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1885, looking for a better, happier life. Mr. Trump's comments about Mexicans caused such outrage among Latinos and others that many of his corporate partners dumped him.

His connections to world of golfing, though, seem to be standing firm. He owns 18 golf courses worldwide, including Turnberry in Scotland, site of the legendary "duel in the sun" in the British Open in 1977, when Tom Watson edged Jack Nicklaus by a single stroke. It is now called -- what else? -- Trump Turnberry.

His golf courses, he told John Barton in Golf Digest last year, represent a small percentage of his business ventures. "You know," he told Golf Digest, "I own buildings. I'm a builder. Nobody can build like I can. Nobody.

"I'm huge," he said.

For years, golf, which was born in Scotland centuries ago on primitive courses open to everyone, has been battling the notion that these days only the rich can take four hours on Saturday afternoons to hack their way around 18 holes. Mr. Trump thinks that's just fine. "Let golf be elitist," he told Golf Digest. "I feel golf should be an aspirational game. People should come to golf, golf shouldn't come to them." In other words, you can begin playing the game after you've made your first million or two.

Those are the people he wants to welcome at his luxury golf courses, all of which, he told Golf Digest, are simply great. Why, he said, his Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, near Philadelphia, is as good as its neighbor, Pine Valley, "if not better." Pine Valley, of course, is often rated as the best golf course in the United States (I can't argue with that. I played the course years ago and found it unbearably difficult). Golf Digest rates Mr. Trump's course as the 18th-best course in New Jersey. The course, he said, is sold out. Golf Digest called the pro shop and discovered they could tee off the very next day.

"You're always selling," Golf Digest told Mr. Trump, in this amazingly revealing interview, "always promoting yourself."

"You know," he replied, "I do great work, and I know people that do great work and they're not acknowledged. Frank Sinatra was a good friend of mine, and I know people that sing better than Frank Sinatra, but nobody knows who they are. With me, they know who I am. So I believe you can do great things, but if people don't know about it, what difference does it make?"

James M. Perry, a prominent veteran political reporter, contributes regular observations to post-gazette.com. Mr. Perry was the chief political correspondent of The Wall Street Journal until his retirement. Prior to that, he covered national politics for the Dow Jones weekly, The National Observer.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton walks in the Fourth of July Parade in Gorham, New Hampshire, July 4, 2015. (Dominick Reuter/Reuters)Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton walks in the Fourth of July Parade in Gorham, New Hampshire, July 4, 2015. (Dominick Reuter/Reuters)

1) Reporters were kept away from Hillary Clinton while she walked in a Fourth of July parade in New Hampshire, something that's been par for the course in Ms. Clinton's campaign so far. Sure, it can seem excessive that people in the media are keeping track of how many questions we've been permitted to ask Ms. Clinton since she announced – we might be up to double digits by now – but we have to wonder: Does this silence help the perception that the Clintons have something to hide? But fear not, boys and girls – apparently, that's about to change.

2) And speaking of media access: Members of the White House press corps continue to be unhappy about the access they have to President Obama. Which makes this weekend's incident – the president snuck off a golf course and was hustled back to Andrews Air Force Base before the press pool knew he had left. Maybe ditching the press as often as possible was one of the items on Mr. Obama's Rhymes-With-Bucket-List?

3) The claim by Gov. Tom Wolf that he vetoed the legislature's liquor privatization bill because it would lead to higher prices and less selection for consumers doesn't make any sense. And we're not the only ones who think so.

4) An investigation of Allentown's contracting procedures probably wouldn't make much of a difference to folks here in Pittsburgh, but it could mean problems for the U.S. Senate candidacy of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

United States defenders Becky Sauerbrunn (4) and Meghan Klingenberg (22) celebrate with an American flag after defeating Japan in the final of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup at BC Place Stadium. United States won 5-2. (Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY)United States defenders Becky Sauerbrunn (4) and Meghan Klingenberg (22) celebrate with an American flag after defeating Japan in the final of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup at BC Place Stadium. United States won 5-2. (Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY)

5) A Women's World Cup win for the United States – and Pittsburgh native Meghan Klingenberg – on Fourth of July weekend? It gets no better than that.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, speaks to members of the media at the state Capitol in Harrisburg Pa. Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Chris Knight/Associated Press)

1) After the least surprising veto in state history, Gov. Tom Wolf and Harrisburg Republicans are starting all over on a state budget.

2) One component of those discussions likely will be privatization of booze sales in the state. House and Senate Republicans agreed upon a plan to give those who hold licenses to sell beer to pay new fees to expand sales to liquor and wine. Mr. Wolf has said he's not in favor of privatization – and the union that represents those who work for the current booze monopoly expects Gov. Go Time to keep his promise – but this could be a hefty bargaining chip for the broader budget talks.

trumpsuit

3) Today's Trumpdate: As promised, the Trumpernator has filed a hefty lawsuit against Spanish-language TV network Univision for dumping the broadcast of the Trump-owned Miss USA pageant coming up later this month because of the Republican presidential candidate's remarks about Mexicans being "rapists" and "criminals." But fear not, pageant fans; the Reelz network – yes, that's apparently a real thing – will broadcast the July 12 pageant. But that's not our favorite bit of Donald Trump news today. For that, we have to thank our own Tracie Mauriello, who shared the above photo on Facebook. Think Mr. Trump has any idea what irony is?

4) We've written previously about Chris Christie's plummeting approval numbers in his home state, but this is something else entirely: "Hey, Gov. Christie – don't let the door hit your substantial behind on the way out."

5) Happy Fourth of July Weekend, boys and girls. If you're headed to Chicago, know that we're filled with envy.