Week in review: Tom Wolf’s tax plan goes under the microscope


By PA Independent Staff

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has been trying to paint his Democratic opponent, York County businessman Tom Wolf, as a taxman who wants Pennsylvanians to fork over more of their money to state government.

What’s actually in Wolf’s tax plan? PA Independent took a look at that in a series of stories this week, while checking up on some of the last pieces of legislation to clear the General Assembly before the November election.

LOOKING BACK: What’s in Tom Wolf’s tax plan? PA Independent took a look at it this week.

It’s hard to boil Wolf’s plan into one short summary, so check out the following stories for more:

Part One: What we know and what we don’t

Part Two: Making the rich pay their ‘fair share’

Part Three: Legislative and legal hurdles

State lawmakers grant NRA standing to sue over local gun laws

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has plans for litigation after Corbett signed the Re-Victimization Relief Act into law earlier this week.

The law would allow crime victims, their families or prosecutors acting on their behalf to seek a civil injunction to silence their offenders if they believe their speech could re-victimize them. Hailed by victim advocates, it’s a direct response to convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement address to students at a Vermont college.

But, according to the ACLU, is written so broadly it raises serious First Amendment concerns and chills convicts their right to free speech. The organization has said litigation will “definitely” be coming.

“The last thing we need is the government telling us who can and cannot speak,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director for the ACLU.

New technologies help clean up coal piles from PA communities

Pennsylvania has an estimated 212 million cubic yards of coal waste, which has been a problem no one seemed able to fix. But a newer type of power plant is taking up that challenge, saving taxpayers up to $224 million so far.

Not everyone thinks these power plants are a good idea. One group says the process just turns a water problem into a water and air problem.

But others say you have to look at on-the-ground results. A stream near one site had been biologically dead, but now has trout. And some old-timers have come to cleanup group organizers — after projects are completed, the waste is gone and the streams are no longer orange — crying, because they didn’t think their communities could be any different.

Justices behaving badly: PA Supreme Court has embarrassing history

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made a stunning decision earlier this week, choosing to suspend Justice Seamus McCaffery after he found himself embroiled in a scandal involving inappropriate emails.

That situation turned even uglier after Chief Justice Ron Castille penned a scathing concurring statement that suggested McCaffery has displayed sociopathic behavior.

It’s an ugly situation for the state’s highest court, but it’s not the first time the prestigious bench has been embarrassed by actions of a justice.

PA Independent, with some help from Rock the Capital’s Eric Epstein, glanced back at some of the more notable stories of jurists behaving badly. Check out the list here.