Gas Tax Passes PA House Committee, May Hit A Wall Before Floor Vote

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — State House lawmakers have moved a bill onto the floor calling for a severance tax on natural gas drilling. It’s a big step for Democrats and moderate Republicans, who have pushed the tax for years. But there’s a good chance the measure will languish without a vote for the foreseeable future.  It would create a tax on the volume of gas taken from the ground, on top of an existing fee for new wells drilled. Its sponsor, moderate Bucks County Representative Gene DiGirolamo, estimated annual revenue between $200 million and $250 million, depending on gas prices. The last time the House moved a severance tax bill was in 2009, when the chamber was briefly controlled by Democrats.


PA House Budget Proposal May Be The Only Option

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — The state House has now sent the Senate most of the revenue components necessary to finish Pennsylvania’s budget–more than three months behind schedule. Senate leaders say they’ll make a good-faith effort to pass them, despite their flaws. But the budget’s completion might still hinge on whether the chambers can agree on a gambling expansion.  The main component of the House proposal is a $1.5 billion in borrowing against the state’s Tobacco Settlement fund. That money would be paid back with interest over 20 years. Most of the rest of the $2.2 billion dollar deficit will be filled with one-time fund transfers Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said his chamber is considering the House plan reluctantly.

How to Make Roasted Beet and Chèvre Stacks with Oranges with Tracy Maines

Learn how to cook this sweet and savory dish of Roasted Beet and Chèvre Stacks with Oranges with Tracy Maines. Please enjoy this recipe from our Seasons at the Lake documentary.  

Roasted Beet and Chèvre Stacks with Oranges (pg 53 in My Cottage Kitchen Cookbook)
12 ounces Chèvre (goat cheese), softened
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
6 medium beets (about 1 pound), roasted
3 large navel oranges (2 for segments and 1 for zest and juice)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar glaze
6 large basil leaves
2 ounces walnuts, chopped

In a small bowl combine the softened cheese and the minced thyme, mix well. Place the cheese on a piece of plastic wrap and form into a tidy tube shape about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.

Ithaca Ballet Presents a Double Bill for the Whole Family


Ithaca Ballet presents ‘Snow White’ and ‘Haunted House’ in two performances in the State Theatre in Ithaca.  Choreographer Cindy Reid joins us to talk about the two short ballets.  ‘Snow White’ features music by Lavinia Reid and ‘Haunted House’ is to Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘A Night on Bald Mountain’. http://wskg.org/audio/snowwhite.mp3


Photo credit: Ithaca Ballet


Hundreds Rally In Binghamton To Revive MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign

About 500 people gathered at the United Presbyterian Church in downtown Binghamton Tuesday night for what they call a revival of Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign for the rights of poor people. The national group heading up the new Poor People’s Campaign is organizing people in a fifteen cities across the US, including Binghamton. Multiple faith leaders rallied attendees, talking about what they see as systemic injustices – including cash bail for jail, strict rules on voting, and a lack of a living wage. “It is systemic poverty. It’s policies put in place put in place to keep people where we are,” said Rebecca Kindig, associate pastor at United Presbyterian. Her group already hosts community meals once a week and makes a point to employ people who can’t find work elsewhere.


PA Lawmakers Angle For Tens Of Billions In Federal Restitution

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Some state lawmakers are trying to get restitution for what they see as bad US Federal Reserve policies during the recovery of the housing market.   The ask? Around $20 billion dollars. The state Treasury would be required to lobby the federal government for those funds under a resolution that recently passed committee in the House. The practice at the core of the resolution is quantitative easing, or QE. It was used by the Federal Reserve to buoy the floundering US economy after the 2008 market crash; essentially, the central bank bought bonds to pump money into the financial system and lower interest rates in hopes it would help the economy recover.

PA House Passes Familiar Budget…Minus New Revenue

HARRISBURG (WSKG) – House lawmakers narrowly passed part of a proposal Tuesday night to finish Pennsylvania’s overdue state budget–their first significant action since talks melted down two weeks ago.  It’s extremely similar to a plan that previously failed to garner support. However, this version borrows more money and doesn’t include significant recurring revenue, from taxes or otherwise. It came together on the heels of a cooling-off period for the legislature, following Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement he would balance the budget unilaterally. Wolf’s strategy–which involves borrowing against liquor profits and leasing the state farm show complex–drew criticism from Republicans. House Majority Leader Dave Reed said the legislature is presenting a better option–even if it’s no one’s preference.


Supervised Injection Site Discussed At Tompkins County Legislature


Advocates for a site where heroin users can safely inject in Ithaca brought their case before the Tompkins County legislature this week. The only operational supervised injection sites in North America are in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. There are none yet in the U.S.   Ithaca advocates, principally Dr. William Klepack, said injection sites help reduce the number of overdose-related deaths. Since supervised injection is illegal in New York state, however, one of the legislators’ main questions to advocates was what could be the next steps for supervised injection sites in Ithaca?   An answer to that came from the former Tompkins County district attorney.

Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ Plays in a Mysterious Theatre


Kitchen Theatre welcomes Fitz&Startz Production for ‘The Mystery of the Magic Flute’, a re-imagining of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ with music from other Mozart operas for a detective story for kids about a mysterious theatre. “Three American girls–Bettina age 15, Anna age 12, and Suz age 9–are off to Salzburg, Austria with their Uncle Wolfie to see the sights and experience going to the opera in Mozart’s home town. Uncle Wolfie has told his nieces about a mysterious opera house that is on a street with no name and is not on any map. Can they find it? When Uncle Wolfie turns a corner and disappears and a mysterious door appears, the girls decide to enter.


Cuomo Condemns Federal Tax Overhaul As VEEP Visits Western New York

ALBANY (WSKG) – Governor Cuomo joined other New York Democrats in condemning the federal tax overhaul plan in the wake of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Western New York.   Cuomo, also speaking in Buffalo where the VP was  attending a fundraiser for Representative Chris Collins, said a provision in the tax overhaul to eliminate deductibility for state and local taxes would deliver a “death blow” to New York. He says it would result in “double taxation” and be a windfall for other states at New York’s expense. “It’s Washington’s attempt to cut taxes in other parts of the country by using New York as a piggy bank,” said Cuomo “And that is something we cannot allow to happen.” Cuomo says the proposal hits New York hard because the state has “some of the highest property taxes” in the nation. The governor’s remarks come as the conservative group the Tax Foundation, ranked New York  number two for the worst business climate in the country, behind only New Jersey.