Friday, February 5, 2016

POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 8:45 AM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. ((DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer, File Photo))

Wanna bet?

If you're a good guesser you could pick up some quick cash by guessing what Gov. Wolf's new state budget proposal would mean in tax increases to the average family of four.

The conservative Commonwealth Foundation is running an online contest, "Guess the Wolf Tax," with whoever comes closet winning a $250 Visa gift card.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 8:33 AM

For those who put stock in signs -- such as that groundhog on Tuesday predicting an early spring -- we now have a sign that ongoing animus between Gov. Wolf and the GOP Legislature might not be coming to an early end.

A week before he's scheduled to offer a new state budget to replace, I suppose, the one we don't have, the Democratic governor has stirred some opposition from Republicans for proposing, of all things, a bit of reduction in government.

Yes, I know, Republicans are supposed to want reduced government. But in Harrisburg these days these guys fight over everything.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 8:39 AM

We all know Ted Cruz is right, as in politically right of center, and I mean really right.

But he's also right about his latest proposal leading up to Monday's voting in Iowa.

The Texas senator says he wants to debate Donald Trump one-on-one, and he means right now.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 9:22 AM

Appraisals of Gov. Wolf's first year in office mostly center on the fact the state still has no completed budget.

That's bad: failure to provide a basic function of government.

But Democrat Wolf isn't the only rookie governor having a rough go. And Pennsylvania isn't the only state still without a budget.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 6, 2016, 8:35 AM

A Scranton lawyer with a long law enforcement resume says he's seriously thinking about entering the April GOP primary for state attorney general, a post now held by embattled incumbent, the Miss Controversy of Pennsylvania, Democrat Kathleen Kane.

Joe Peters, a former aide to fellow-Scrantonian Kane, showed up in a blog this week by the Scranton Times-Tribune's Chris Kelly as subject of a Facebook-driven "Draft Joe Peters for Attorney General" effort.

Yesterday, I asked Peters if it's true he's thinking about getting in the race.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 8:55 AM

Not that Pennsylvania citizens/taxpayers really need more reasons to hate Harrisburg, but a member of the state House -- the place where budgets languish and good ideas go to die -- has just offered us another one.

State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh County, is reintroducing a bill to prevent lawmakers and administration leaders from being paid or perked when they fail to pass a timely state budget.

You may be aware that Pennsylvania has no budget even though one was due last June 30.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 9:07 AM

No, it's not a fix of the public pension system that's draining state resources and that's a big part of the still unresolved state budget.

But Philly Democratic Sen. Larry Farnese has a plan to fix a loophole in state law that allows child-sex offenders -- as it did for one famous one -- to get and keep getting pension payouts.

The legislation would prevent public officials and employees from collecting retirement pay if they are convicted or plead guilty to child-sex crimes that would land them on a Megan's Law list of sex offenders.

POSTED: Monday, November 30, 2015, 8:45 AM

Maybe you missed this over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but the Pennsylvania Republican Party says Donald Trump will speak at one of the key events during the upcoming Pa. Society weekend in NYC.

If you missed it maybe that's because the GOP isn't exactly touting it. The press release announcing The Donald's appearance showed up in reporters' email boxes at 4:17 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving. The most flattering thing it said about Trump is that he's "a successful and dynamic businessman."

And since the announcement there doesn't seem to be much GOP bragging about snagging the Republican presidential frontrunner. And there's nothing close to an endorsement from party bigwigs.

About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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