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Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 11:01 AM

Former Gov. Ed Rendell in an interview after meeting Tuesday with the Inquirer Editorial Board said he understands Gov. Corbett's dilemma in trying to balance the state budget after taking a no-tax pledge. But he said he doesn't think Corbett's approach will work.

On the national political front, Rendell said the Republican primaries have been "nothing more than a clown show."

Rendell also talked about his efforts to help raise money for the Moyer Foundation, which provides camps for children trying to cope with the death of a loved one or a family member on drugs, including a camp in Philadelphia.


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POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 5:00 AM

Each day, the Inquirer Editorial Board posts a new poll on its Say What? blog, as well as in that day's printed edition of the newspaper. Just since the summer, more than 100,000 votes have been cast by phily.com readers. To the right is our latest poll.

Cast your vote now.

And see earlier polls here

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POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 3:00 AM
Then-Penn State President Graham B. Spanier successfully fought to reduce proposed funding cuts by Gov. Corbett last year. (PAUL VATHIS / Associated Press)

Gov. Corbett’s proposed state budget could be a prescription for disaster for higher education in Pennsylvania. The total $27.13 billion spending plan would avoid tax increases, but deeply cut funds for most state colleges and universities.

Three of the four state-related universities — Temple, Penn State, and the University of Pittsburgh — would take the biggest hits, about a 30 percent cut each. Only Lincoln University among that group wouldn’t see a reduction; its funding would remain at the current-year level of $11.1 million. The 14 colleges in the State System of Higher Education would see their funding slashed by 20 percent. Community colleges could get a smaller funding cut.

In his budget address to lawmakers Tuesday, Corbett said, “These tough decisions will lay the groundwork for the prosperity of tomorrow.” But for thousands of struggling families, the governor’s proposed budget brings the likelihood of more tuition increases, which could put a college education for their children beyond their reach.

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POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 2:00 AM
William J. Barnes (left), 76, was found not guilty of murder in the death of police Officer Walter T. Barclay (right). Barnes shot Barclay, who died in 2007, in 1966.

The gunshot that left a rookie Philadelphia cop crippled 45 years ago continues to echo through the city’s criminal-justice system. But it’s the man who fired the bullet — and who remains behind bars, despite having served his entire prison sentence — who now seeks a measure of justice.

William Barnes’ recent appeal to the federal courts to be released from jail may not win much public sympathy for the 76-year-old inmate. It was Barnes’ weapon, fired during a 1966 burglary, that paralyzed Police Officer Walter Barclay.

Barclay lived another 41 years. Yet, city prosecutors tried to turn his 2007 death from an infection into a murder case against Barnes — on grounds that the ex-cop’s medical problems stemmed directly from the shooting.

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POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 5:46 PM

To cover a small part of the estimated $150 billion payroll-tax-cut extension, congressional negotiators are considering an offensive idea: taking a $1,800 tax credit away from undocumented immigrants who earn poverty wages.

Supporters argue that cutting the child tax credit for these families could save $2.5 billion a year or more. But it could force poor working families to cut back on essentials, like food.

In Pennsylvania, about 15,600 families could lose the credit, which was designed to help families on the edge from falling off. In New Jersey, 76,660 could be affected.

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POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 5:41 PM

Not a moment too soon, Gov. Corbett and Republican legislative leaders finally are facing up to the task of making Pennsylvania’s natural-gas drillers pay more toward their fair share.

With a second round of state spending cuts expected Tuesday in Corbett’s annual budget address, it would look worse than ever had the state remained the only major gas-producing state without a tax on gas drilling. So, it represents progress even by Harrisburg’s minimal standards that lawmakers report broad agreement on a plan to impose an impact fee that could raise up to $355,000 per well over a 15-year period.

Hold the applause, however.  The levy could bring in considerably less, since it will be pegged to natural-gas prices already on a downward slide. Even at full throttle, the fee would be among the nation’s lowest — bringing in easily less than half what per-well taxes yield in West Virginia and Texas, for instance.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:41 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 5:00 AM

Each day, the Inquirer Editorial Board posts a new poll on its Say What? blog, as well as in that day's printed edition of the newspaper. Just since the summer, more than 100,000 votes have been cast by phily.com readers. To the right is our latest poll.

Cast your vote now.

And see earlier polls here

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, February 6, 2012, 9:57 AM
Election ballots with and without Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel's name are displayed at the Chicago Board of Elections office, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, in Chicago. On Monday, an (AP)

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