Home Rule Episode 3: What COVID-19 Could Mean for PA Elections

PA lawmakers have taken some steps to shore up the election during the COVID-19 shutdown, but there’s still more to do. In our third episode of Home Rule, we talk to Rep. Kevin Boyle and local election attorney Adam Bonin about the pandemic’s implications for voting, PA’s new vote-by-mail program, the party conventions, and more.  Continue reading

Southeast PA and Allegheny Officials Call for an All-Mail Election

Local elected officials from some of Pennsylvania’s most populous counties are urging the state to consider an all-mail primary election on June 2nd. Continue reading

State Coronavirus Response Takes a Partisan Turn

State elected officials so far have seemed to be working collaboratively enough across party lines on the coronavirus response, but it’s still an election year with divided government and real competition for control of the state legislature, so the urge to draw contrasts between the parties will only intensify. Continue reading

Mayor Kenney to Scrap Proposed Budget, Start Over

The coronavirus crisis has pushed City emergency spending up, and the resulting business closures necessitated by social distancing have sent tax revenues plummeting, leading the Kenney administration to announce they’re scrapping their proposed $5.2 billion budget and starting over. They plan to release a new budget before May 1st, and officials aren’t dancing around the fact that there could be some harsh cuts involved, according to Michael D’Onofrio of the Tribune. Continue reading

Rep. Madeleine Dean Wants More, and Automatic, Cash Payments

The federal CARES Act substantially expanded unemployment insurance and will also send direct payments of around $1,200 to most Americans, but many economists seem to agree that the package was nowhere near large enough to offset the enormous demand shock to the economy. And some are warning that—absent a more robust response from Congress and the Fed—a quarter to one-third of Americans could be thrown out of work within a few months. Already in Pennsylvania, there have been over 1.1 million UI claims—about 16% of the workforce. Continue reading

What Will the CARES Act Do for Philadelphia?

(Estimate of PA and PHL spending allocation | Image: Philadelphia 3.0) The CARES Act (aka the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is the largest federal stimulus bill in American history. At the time of the bill’s signing, estimates put anticipated spending at roughly $2.2 trillion. To put that figure in context, the Federal government spent $4.4 trillion in 2019, and the Bush-era Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 included roughly $152 billion in spending. Funding from the CARES Act will likely touch every part of the government, and at every level.  Continue reading

Wolf and Legislature Reach Deal to Postpone Electione to June 2nd

Governor Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders reached an agreement Wednesday to move Pennsylvania's primary election to June 2nd, Jan Murphy reports, along with some other measures designed to ease election administration and increase the convenience of voting during the pandemic. Continue reading

Support Grows for Vote-By-Mail Election in PA

As more indications suggest the coronavirus lockdown could last for months, not weeks, momentum has been building to move Pennsylvania's primary to a later date in May or June, and scale up our new vote-by-mail program to reach all eligible voters. Continue reading

Delaying PA's Primary and Universal Vote-By-Mail: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Pennsylvania's primary elections are coming up fast on Tuesday, April 28th, and nobody can say with any certainty that the need for physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic will abate by then.  Continue reading

Kenney Admin Preparing Economic Response to COVID-19

After the Kenney administration ordered bars and restaurants closed yesterday, and with more state restrictions on in-person business activity coming as the COV-19 pandemic spreads, we're starting to get a glimpse of what the city and state economic response will look like. Economist Adam Ozimek notes that, according to the JP Morgan Institute, about half of small businesses have less than 15 days of cash buffer before they're in the red, so the clock is ticking for especially federal politicians to make get cash out the door and into the hands of small businesses and workers fast. Cities and states may be able to act more nimbly, however, and any federal response would work partly through them.  Continue reading