State Rep. Ed Neilson said he’s hoping for a smooth transition to City Council.
Neilson (D-169th dist.) won a special election on May 20 to fill the unexpired term of Bill Green, a Democrat who resigned his at-large seat to become chairman of the School Reform Commission.
For now, Neilson is focused on spending time in Harrisburg, helping to craft a state budget.
“Every vote counts up there,” he said.
Neilson’s district office remains open, and he continues to attend community meetings.
As far as the state budget, he said, funding for public education needs to be increased. Talk of ways to raise revenue is “in the beginning stages.”
Neilson mentioned the possibilities of raising taxes on cigarettes and/or natural gas drilling. A hike in the income tax is unlikely, he said, in an election year. He favors preserving existing spending levels.
“There’s not much more to cut,” he said.
On the city level, he’s met with Council President Darrell Clarke on issues such as pensions, schools, the budget and a possible sale of Philadelphia Gas Works. He’s also discussed office space and staffing. No date has been set for him to join Council.
Last week, Neilson was pleased that the House of Representatives unanimously passed his legislation that would create a pilot program to provide evidence-based early screening and other intervention services for children with risk factors of dyslexia.
House Bill 198 would establish the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program in at least three Pennsylvania school districts. The Senate has already passed the bill, and Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign it.
“Given the right tools and opportunity, these kids can succeed,” Neilson said.
Dyslexia, also known as developmental reading disorder, is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. It is believed that 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. population displays at least some symptoms of dyslexia, although it often goes undiagnosed for years and sometimes is not formally recognized until adulthood, if ever.
Three years after implementation of the pilot program, the state Secretary of Education would submit an evaluation of the pilot program to the General Assembly containing recommendations to continue, expand or make changes to the program. The Pennsylvania Department of Education would also determine whether programs of this type have the potential to reduce future special education costs in the state.
The campaign of Gov. Tom Corbett is calling on Democratic opponent Tom Wolf to release the details of his budget proposal.
Wolf is a wealthy York County businessman and former secretary of the state Department of Revenue.
“As the chief executive, you have to make tough decisions and you need to be honest with the people,” said Mike Barley, Corbett’s campaign manager. “How much would Secretary Tom Wolf’s promises cost taxpayers, and why hasn’t he included these numbers as part of his campaign platform? Pennsylvanians deserve more than pie-in-the-sky promises; they deserve to know what the Wolf budget would look like. Secretary Wolf needs to stop hiding behind the slick television ads touting his razor-thin campaign platform filled with poll-tested buzz words that bought him the Democratic nomination.”
The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsed Wolf for governor.
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said, “Pennsylvania’s workers are fed up with the current administration, which has focused on everything except what matters most to them. Tom Wolf is raising the issues that workers care about – the need to restore funding for education and infrastructure investments as the keys to creating jobs and expanding the middle class. Mr. Wolf understands that you grow an economy from the ground up and not from the top down. We will work just as hard in supporting and electing Tom Wolf governor as we are doing to defend good jobs, defend decent pensions and defend our rights to a strong voice in the workplace and in politics.”
Wolf is supporting primary rival Katie McGinty as chairwoman of the state party.
The current chairman is Jim Burn, who said he intends to try to keep his post.
The election is later this week.
McGinty is a Rhawnhurst native and St. Hubert High School graduate who is a former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
She fared very poorly in the primary, finishing a distant fourth in a four-person race with less than 8 percent of the vote. She did worse in her native Philadelphia, managing just 4 percent.
However, unlike distant runner-up Allyson Schwartz and third-place finisher Rob McCord, she did not attack Wolf.
The Philadelphia Republican City Committee last week unanimously elected its officers to four-year terms.
State Rep. John Taylor was re-elected as chairman.
The rest of the executive board slate consisted of vice chairs Agnes “Chuckie” Tilley and Michael Cibik; honorary vice chairwoman Suzanne Haney; secretary Vincent Fenerty; treasurer Walt Vogler Jr.; general counsel Michael Meehan; assistant secretary Kevin Pasquay; assistant treasurer Calvin Tucker; and associate general counsel Linda Kerns.
The Independence Hall Tea Party is criticizing Hillary Clinton, who last week visited Philadelphia on a nationwide book tour, for her seemingly preposterous remarks that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001.
Teri Adams, president of the local Tea Party, said Clinton should have visited poor neighborhoods in Philadelphia when she was in town to see the failed policies of the Great Society - the 1960s-era Democratic initiative that, Adams said, has led to an even larger number of Americans living at or below the poverty level despite the accumulated federal spending of $22 trillion over the last 50 years.
“Imagine what tall tales are contained in those books - for if she can lie about being ‘dead broke’ after leaving the White House, she can and has obviously lied about so many other matters,” Adams said. ••