Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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.

POSTED: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 8:52 AM
Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. (File Photo: Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

Montco Commissioners' Chairman Josh Shapiro just picked up another political resume builder, reinforcing a view that he's a pol who (no pun intended) Baer's watching.

Gov. Wolf has appointed Shapiro chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency.

It's a post that allows him to remain a county honcho while also providing a nice law & justice card for him to play in any future political effort like, oh, I don't know, being appointed state attorney general if current A.G. Kathleen Kane were for any reason to leave the post, or if Shapiro finds himself actually running for the job next year.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 8:56 AM
Former Governor Tom Corbett. (Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer)

Former Gov. Corbett, who tried but failed to trim public pensions for state workers and school employees, is pulling down a pretty good pension himself.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Corbett took a lump-sum payment of $118,378 after leaving office in January and is getting an annual payment of $38,765.

The amount is based on Corbett's 11.3 years of state service: four as governor, six as attorney general and a year-plus as acting attorney general, appointed by Gov. Ridge after AG Ernie Preate went to prison.

POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2015, 9:02 AM

If you need further proof that political discourse is declining at alarming rates, I refer you to a GQ profile of potential Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.

It starts by quoting the conservative former neurosurgeon calling President Obama a "psychopath."

The quote comes from Carson's comments while watching the President deliver his State of the Union Address.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 8:51 AM
Vice President Joseph Biden speaks during the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum, September 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Well, you knew it had to happen.

You knew at some point somebody somewhere would actually push Joe Biden for president.

That time its now. Maybe because of Hillary's email mess. Maybe because Elizabeth Warren says she won't run. Whatever the reason, The Washington Post reports there's now a "Draft Joe Biden" super PAC and, yes, it means draft him for president.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 9:03 AM

If you're looking for a sense of how things are going in Harrisburg between the new Democratic Wolf administration and the Republican Legislature all you need to do is read the mail of any school superintendent in the state.

First, right after Wolf proposed new big spending for public education, GOP leaders fired off a missive to school districts essentially saying, yeah, well, don't count your chickens.

And Philly, as you know, is hoping for lots more chickens.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 8:53 AM
Kathleen Kane arrives at City Hall in Philadelphia on Mar. 11, 2015. ( Staff Photographer / Alejandro Alvarez )

Ok, not that it's a real shocker, but the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the investigation of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane started with info passed along by former state prosecutors with whom she was, is and likely always will be at odds.

The Kane case involving her alleged leak of secret grand jury material related to a 2009 probe of former Philly NAACP boss Jerry Mondesire, which never resulted in charges against him, could result in criminal charges against the sitting AG.

The leak came to light after high-profile clashes between Kane and former state prosecutors Frank Fina and Marc Costanzo over the state's investigation of Jerry Sandusky and a sting case involving some Philly lawmakers and a former traffic judge.

POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2015, 8:45 AM

Don't you just wonder?

Wouldn't you think when one pol, say former Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, is caught in a national embarrassment for sexting with a woman named Sydney Leathers, that other pols might say to themselves, "Boy, I'm never gonna do that."

Well, meet Democratic Indiana state Rep. Justin Moed.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter