Sunday, April 26, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, April 23, 2015, 9:02 AM
In this April 15, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., discusses their recently released tax reform plan at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Nearly 20 Republican White House prospects will court primary voters in New Hampshire this weekend at a GOP meeting in Nashua. It’s the first gathering of its kind in New Hampshire as contenders deliver speeches, answer questions and hope to make a mark. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Sen. Marco Rubio leads the Republican field for the 2016 presidential nomination, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday.

This must mean Republicans forgive his water bottle moment in 2013 and forget the party's own ongoing argument against putting a first-term senator in the White House.

And Rubio leads with just 15 percent which tells you that once again the GOP is widely split and maybe headed to a repeat of 2012 -- a rollercoaster ride with multiple candidates switching seats in the first car.

John Baer @ 9:02 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 8:51 AM

The Washington Post on Wednesday offers two items -- one on trust in government and one on how much lobbyists spend -- that just might be connected.

The first item comes from a Pew Research Center study showing just 23 percent of Americans trust the federal government to do the right thing "at least most of the time."

The second item compares government spending on congressional staff to private-sector spending on lobbying Congress. The latter is great than the former.

John Baer @ 8:51 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 8:46 AM
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer / File )

When Philly schools Superintendent William Hite stood to address a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg Monday he started by saying, "I'm here to talk about Tim Tebow."

The crowd chuckled.

Of course, Hite, who faces yet another annual budget problem, wasn't in the Capital City to talk football.

John Baer @ 8:46 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2015, 8:51 AM

If you don’t register you can’t vote.

I don’t know how many columns or blogs or speeches I’ve penned or given that included references to the importance of voting.

I know it’s a big number.

John Baer @ 8:51 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 8:52 AM
The late Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno. (Charles Fox/Staff Photographer )

We all know how great a role football plays at Penn State, so it should be no surprise the university is willing to pay for football wins.

I'm not talking about investing in coaches (James Franklin's salary is $4.3 million) or facilities or player-recruiting costs.

I'm not even talking about how the university continues to settle sexual-abuse cases against its jailed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky (last week it was reported PSU's board just voted to spend an "extraordinary sum" to settle some still-pending cases, this after spending $60 million in 2013 to settle claims of 26 other victims).

John Baer @ 8:52 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2015, 8:43 AM
Attorney General Kathleen Kane. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Don't you just wonder?

I mean the almost daily drip, drip, drip of bad news for Kathleen Kane at some point has to take her down the drain, no?

This latest issue, firing a top aide who testified against her in a grand jury probe of leaks to media from Kane's agency? Could it come at worse time? Could she have handled it worse?

John Baer @ 8:43 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 9, 2015, 8:51 AM

Earlier this week we looked at average real estate taxes across the country and found Pennsylvania's are above the average and among the highest in the nation, according to data collected by the online personal finance resource Wallet Hub.

Today we look at the average of all state and local taxes for each state, and guess what?

Based on info from various sources including the U.S. Census and the Tax Foundation we're above the average in total taxes, too.

John Baer @ 8:51 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 8:43 AM
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Property taxes long have been the bane of Pennsylvania homeowners, especially seniors.

The Legislature, for a generation or more, has wrestled with the issue and again is facing a budget battle in which Gov. Wolf is calling for tax swaps to reduce property taxes.

So it seems like a good time to compare our state's burden with other states.

John Baer @ 8:43 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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
Also on
Stay Connected