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PA Independent: Week in Review

by News Release

Philadelphia Shipyard on the Brink
Despite receiving $429 million from taxpayers in 1998

JULY 21, 2010 | by JIM PANYARD

A $429 million "investment" of taxpayer funds by politicians in 1998 to resurrect the defunct Philadelphia Shipyard appears on the brink of being lost, unless the present operators can find a way to stay afloat for two more years.
Then-Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell (D) and then-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge (R) put up the tax dollars to entice Swedish shipbuilder Kvaerner (now Aker) to bring the yard back to life after its 1995 closing for lack of business.
The average annual salary at the yard is $45,000. Critics at the time said the taxpayer "investment" would pay 1,000 workers for nearly 10 years. Click here to read more.

House Bill Would Address Race as Death Penalty Factor
Burden of proof, case comparison would be on defendant

JULY 20, 2010 | by DARWYYN DEYO

Testimony was heard Monday for legislation proposed by state Rep. Robert Matzie (D - Allegheny), examining the potential effectiveness of H.B. 1996, which would address race as a factor in Pennsylvania death penalty sentencing.

"House Bill 1996 would not solve Pennsylvania's problems with race and the death penalty," said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the Pennsylvania ACLU. "Even if the bill becomes law, a person could certainly still be sentenced to death due to racial dynamics but HB 1996 creates a new safeguard by allowing defendants an avenue for bringing claims of racial discrimination. If enacted, this bill decreases the likelihood that racial factors will play a role in determining who is sentenced to be executed." Click here to read more.

U.S. Senate Leaves FMAP Behind, Rendell Still Optimistic
Other states have averted crisis Pennsylvania faces

JULY 21, 2010 | by ERIC BOEHM

Democrats in the U.S. Senate, with the help of two Republicans, broke through a Republican filibuster Tuesday night on a bill to extend unemployment benefits. But the part of the legislation which would have included the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentages (FMAP) extension was left on the cutting room floor.
For 370,000 Pennsylvanians out of work for six months or more, it means an extension of unemployment benefits, but without the inclusion of FMAP, which accounts for $850 million in revenue in this year's budget, a budget crisis is looming. Failure of Congress to pass the extension before heading for their August recess in two weeks would require Gov. Ed Rendell and legislative leaders to agree to cut into a budget which is less than a month old. Click here to read more.

More Stories

New Marcellus Study Projects $6B in Tax Revenue | July 22, 2010
Delco Justice Confesses to 69 Counts of Corruption | July 22, 2010
Political Controversies Mounting for Attorney General Doubling as Gubernatorial Candidate | July 22, 2010
Rendell Lays Out His Plan for Transit Funding | July 21, 2010
U.S. Senate Leaves FMAP Behind, Rendell Still Optimistic | July 21, 2010
Philadelphia Shipyard on the Brink | July 21, 2010
House Bill Would Address Race as Death Penalty Factor | July 20, 2010
Government Reformers Plan Constitutional Convention Exhibition | July 20, 2010
Red Light Cameras Could Serve Dual Purpose | July 20, 2010
Correction: Estey Did Not Have to Disclose Activities | July 20, 2010
Rendell Wants Gas Company Profits Tax, Price Controls | July 19, 2010
Legislation Introduced to Subsidize Green Energy | July 19, 2010
AG Files Motion to Dismiss Part of ACORN Lawsuit | July 19, 2010
Environmental Group Ordered to Cease and Desist May Not Exist | July 16, 2010
Erie Coke Under Scrutiny Again | July 16, 2010
Consensus Building Continues on Transportation Issues | July 16, 2010
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