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Federal Tax Uncertainty Casts Doubt On PA’s Revenue Projections

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Four months into the fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s revenues are more-or-less on target.  A new report from the state Independent Fiscal Office shows collections are about $10 million dollars below estimates–a figure IFO Director Matthew Knittel said is leaps and bounds better than this time last year, when state income lagged by more than 20 times that much. The commonwealth ended last fiscal year nearly $1.5 billion below projections–a shortfall that contributed to lawmakers’ painful, protracted budget battle. However, Knittel said the fact that revenues look better this year doesn’t mean there’s not still potential for instability–especially if the Trump administration doesn’t overhaul the federal tax code as promised. “We think if federal tax reform does not happen…then we would lower our revenue estimate for this year,” he said. The uncertainty stems from individuals and businesses delaying reporting some of their income in hopes of getting a tax cut later.

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Post-Impasse, Many In PA Want To See Changes In State Budgeting

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — After a tumultuous budget process that saw state lawmakers pass a plan they couldn’t fully pay for, many are looking into changing how the system works entirely. For four months, the budget was in a sort of limbo. A $32 billion spending package passed just after the June 30th due date, so most state spending continued as usual. But the budget was over $2 billion out of balance, and stayed that way until late last month. A number of lawmakers–and others–want to keep that from happening again “It has to be one vote so we don’t spend money we don’t have, and frankly so politicians don’t get to say, ‘I want to spend this money, which is popular, but I’m not going to vote to pay for it because that’s unpopular,'” Montgomery County Senator Daylin Leach said.

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Poll Shows Constitutional Convention Sinking

ALBANY (WSKG) – A new poll finds that the ballot question on whether to hold a constitutional convention in New York has become widely unpopular with voters.  The Siena College poll finds likely voters in the Nov. 7 elections are leaning against Proposition One “by a better than two-to-one margin,” said Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg. The numbers are a change from earlier in the year, when a poll showed the majority of voters said they were in favor of holding a constitutional convention, despite the fact that they had not heard much about it. And the negativity about the proposed convention is widespread. Fifty-six percent of voters who identify as liberals and 60 percent of New Yorkers who say they are conservative are against the idea.

Learn How to Cook Stuffed Herb Tomatoes with Tracy Maines

Seasons at the Lake not only documents the evolution of the American vacation, but also the cooking of Tracy Maines. She made some of her favorite recipes, showing us how food plays a role in binding families and their vacation traditions together. Stuffed Herb Tomatoes (pg 227 in My Cottage Kitchen Cookbook)
6 medium tomatoes, ripe
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons green onions, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Roasted Garlic Croutons, crumbled (see recipe in section ‘Salads and Dressings’)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the stems and cut the tomatoes into half crosswise. Gently press out the juice and seeds.

A New Opera Tells the Story of Colonel Jim Thompson

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Col. Jim Thompson was held nearly nine years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Tom Philpott’s book about that ordeal and Thompson’s subsequent return to the USA has been adapted into an opera by composer Tom Cipullo.  Tri-Cities Opera will offer five performances of it in the Opera Center on Clinton Street in Binghamton.  General and Artistic Director Susan Ashbaker and conductor Joshua Horsch talk about this powerful yet lyrical drama, and the events around the performances.  The November 11 performance will be free for veterans who reserve tickets through the Vet’s Center. http://wskg.org/audio/gloryhorsch.mp3

 

Photo credit: Randy Cummings/Bunn Hill Photo

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PA Voters Could Step Toward Property Tax Elimination

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — When Pennsylvanians go to the polls next Tuesday, they’ll have a rare opportunity to vote to change the state constitution.  They’ll decide via ballot measure whether to make property tax elimination an option. However, it would only be the first step in a long process. Property tax rates largely depend on how much school districts and local governments decide to exempt from taxation. Right now, state law lets them exclude up to 50 percent of an area’s median home value. The ballot measure would increase that cap to 100 percent–so jurisdictions could opt to totally eliminate property taxes.

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15 Statewide Court Seats Open In Pennsylvania Election

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Tuesday’s election may be in an off-year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have statewide implications.  The highest-profile race is for a seat on the state Supreme Court, and seats are also open on the Superior and Commonwealth courts. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court leans heavily Democratic right now, with a 5 to 2 majority. The Republican candidate, Sallie Mundy, currently holds one of those seats and is seeking a full 10-year term. She was appointed as an interim justice by Governor Tom Wolf last year. Her opponent is Democrat Dwayne Woodruff–a Pittsburgh family court judge and former NFL player with the Steelers.