1.25% Sales Tax Hike to Benefit Philadelphia


The framework is there for a new Pennsylvania budget, months after it should have been passed in mid-summer, but the devil is in the details, especially as it relates to the final increase in the sales tax in Philadelphia. If approved as is, Pennsylvania would have the second highest state sales tax, after California, jumping from 6% to 7.25%.

It is still subject to negotiations, but the options include giving Philadelphia the ability to use some of the new revenue raised by a statewide sales tax increase intended for property tax reductions, and swap them to mitigate the city sales tax hike.

Let me get this straight…

Philadelphia has been mismanaged for decades (by Democrats), to the point that they have a higher sales tax than the entire state to make them a couple of extra bucks for squandering. A point and quarter increase would get them to 9.25%, tied for third nationally as the highest.

This is apparently one tax hike the Democrats don’t like.

So instead, people in the other 66 counties that aren’t nearly as screwed up, kick in a forecasted $2 billion dollars – some of which (who knows how much) then goes BACK to Philly to help them do what? Cut their sales tax rate?

When Philly gets their tax break (really), THEN we get to help pay for schools. But not really. Because every year the PSERS pension benefits increase OBLIGATING school districts to raise property taxes to balance their budgets. (Thanks Tom Ridge and early 2000s Harrisburg!)

So we end up with higher sales taxes and schools still begging for help.

The only sensible idea floated lately was that all new hires would be getting a 401K style program with small employee contributions. You know, just like everyone not in a government job. But even that’s only a baby step. The employees in the state retirement system are still working! So their contribution obligations wouldn’t change, and the whole program is massively underfunded. Even selling the liquor stores probably wouldn’t fill that hole in.

By the way, this new 7.25% tax rate would be second only to California.
Hello tax-free Delaware shopping (for those of us close enough or passing through).

Are these guys for real with this?

November 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm Comments (0)

Philly Papers to Merge

Long overdue.

The newsrooms of the Inquirer, Daily News, and will merge, the publisher of the papers told reporters today, part of a radical restructuring of parent company Philadelphia Media Network that will include job reduction in “every area” of the company, the city’s biggest news organization.

The Inquirer and Daily News will continue to publish as separate newspapers, however. Stan Wischnowski, the vice president of news operations for PMN, will reportedly be in charge of the combined newsroom.

It’s amazing that these papers have been separate for as long as they have.

It’s only a matter of time before they stop publishing one.
Maybe an Inquirer on the weekends, and a tabloid style Daily News during the week?

Something like that.

October 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm Comments (0)

Electric City Electrified by Investment Returns

Wall Street Journal

An effort to turn this city into a rival of Hollywood isn’t turning out quite as planned.

A decade ago, Lackawanna County’s governing commission invested $500,000 to help the actor Paul Sorvino produce and direct a movie called “The Trouble With Cali” in Scranton, the county seat. The idea was to promote the city of 75,000 as a lower-cost alternative to Los Angeles or other big cities for film production.

Mr. Sorvino, whose many roles have included a mob boss in the Martin Scorsese film “Goodfellas” and a police sergeant in the television series “Law & Order,” proved less adept as a director than he had as an actor.

This made me LOL

In return for its $500,000 investment, which covered a large share of the production costs, the county received three Blu-ray discs of the movie, which officials promise will be available soon at the Scranton library.

July 21, 2015 at 11:19 pm Comment (1)

Eastern Sport & Outdoor Show to become Great American Outdoor Show

Remember the Eastern State Sport show that banned “assault rifles” from display at their gun show? Everyone got so bent out of shape, they cancelled it.

Well, the NRA steps in with a show.

All of that meant that Harrisburg-area tourism groups and Farm Show complex organizers went shopping for a new host to a sporting show for the region. What do you know? NRA happens to host a smaller scale show just 70 miles down the road in Maryland right around the same time of year.

It was announced today that NRA has been selected as the vendor to run a much larger scale Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg during the traditional time of the Eastern Sport & Outdoor Show. Maryland, after pushing extreme gun legislation, now loses the economic impact of that show and Pennsylvania gets a new vendor for the sportsmen’s show that doesn’t hate hunters & shooters. To top it off, Reed forever loses the multi-million dollar show they once hosted. Anti-gunners lose and a pro-gun state wins.

Shadenfreude, you are so tasty.

April 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm Comments (0)

#Gosnell Reporting

JD Mullane from the Bucks County Courier Times is pretty much the only reporter following case inside the courtroom.

Thursday’s testimony had sensational details. The court staff, convinced it would attract journalists from around the nation, has set aside three rows of seats to accommodate up to 40 reporters. But all Thursday morning, as Ashly Baldwin testified to horror after horror, only one reporter was in the reserved seating — me.

Several local news outlets were there, scattered about the mostly empty courtroom. The Philadelphia Inquirer had a reporter there. NBC10 sent a blogger for its website. The AP stopped in, but the reporter told me that resources are thin and trial coverage is not gavel to gavel.

An hour into afternoon testimony, Jon Hurdle of The New York Times showed up, and a few minutes later was gone.

The lack of daily media coverage for the most sensational abortion trial angers pro-lifers who said there is a “media black out” on the Gosnell trial.

I asked one of the court staff why so few are interested.

“If you’re pro-choice, do you really want anybody to know about this,” he said, motioning to the filthy medical equipment set up in the courtroom.

… and there’s your answer.

April 15, 2013 at 8:55 am Comments (0)

Sue The NFL For Concussions? Get Your Head Examined!

Now that the Super Bowl is over, the really big game begins. And it’s going to be a head-knocker .

On one side we have the raiders. No, not Oakland, but the Trial Lawyers, who delight in raiding everything good and decent in America. They are representing former NFL players in their fight against the evil empire, a.k.a. the National Football League. At stake? Upwards of ten billion dollars, and possibly, the existence of the NFL itself.

And what is the nerve center of this federal lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia, that have the plaintiffs so mad they’re seeing double? What went so wrong that these former players, given a life of royalty by the NFL, now want to ring the League’s bell?

They suffered concussions playing football.  No lie.  That’s actually the basis of the lawsuit.

The sheer stupidity of such a suit makes you wonder if they really did get hit too many times, because no one of sound mind could dream up something like this.

It would seem, therefore, that their motive is rooted in something else. In the preferred legalistic nomenclature, they’re looking for a handout.

Maybe they’re bitter because they didn’t play in the era of massive contracts. Maybe it’s because they can’t function as “regular” guys after being worshipped for so long, which, for many, started in grade school. Others may feel lost, with football the only thing they know. But their commonality is thinking they are entitled to something.


The outcome of this lawsuit should be a no-brainer. But given the insanity in America’s civil legal system, a jackpot jury award is definitely possible.  (NFL Properties and helmet maker Riddell are defendants, too.)

The players claim the NFL hid information linking football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease). In addition to monetary damages, they want the NFL to assume responsibility for the medical care involved for those players suffering from those health problems.

Let’s look at the case objectively:

1) This sense of entitlement is not just misguided but inappropriate. No one held a gun to players’ heads to sign lucrative contracts and become celebrities to play football.  They’re big boys, and chose their profession — with its risks — of their own free will.

2) And yes, there are risks. Plenty of them. Football is not a contact sport; it’s a collision sport. It is an intensely physical, violent profession. That’s why God made pads and helmets, but any third grader can tell you that those things only help to minimize injuries, and can never totally prevent them. The NFL is not a flag-football league, but one with punishing hits. That’s the game. Players can take it or leave it.  Not surprisingly, they take it.  Always.

3) The pass-the-buck, take-no-personal-responsibility attitude so prevalent in America is once again on full display. Players knew the risks, reaped immense rewards, and now, after the fact, want to blame the NFL for their issues. And are we really supposed to believe that the NFL willfully engaged in a grand conspiracy to keep players in the dark about the effects of hard tackling? To swallow that, we must assume that the League had every doctor in the country on the take, preventing them from speaking to any player who had questions about concussions. And that it somehow inhibited medical professionals from conducting research into concussions and brain injuries.

4) Did the NFL, the medical community and our society know as much about concussions several decades ago? No.  Is there a concerted effort now to better understand brain trauma, and to make all sports — including NFL football — safer? Absolutely.  That’s not malfeasance. It’s progress.

5) Is the NFL culture one that glorifies big hits, highlights them on NFL films, and encourages playing through injuries? Yes, but so what? Fans love when players get leveled, and players love delivering big-time jolts, which often help their team. Gutting it out has always been a source of pride for players, who do it not to secure the next big contract but because they love the game.  An admirable choice, but a choice nonetheless.

6) Where does it end? Should a firefighter who gets burned sue the fire department? Is a baker responsible because an obese donut-eater develops heart disease? And should office workers who develop carpal tunnel syndrome have legal standing to sue their company?

Some jobs have higher risks, and playing NFL football is one of them. But given the lavish rewards, it’s an acceptable risk to players — past and present.  And regarding former players who state that, if they had today’s knowledge back then, they would have opted out — give us a break.  Not a chance in the world.

7) The NFL (and the Players Association) has spent more than a billion dollars on pensions, medical and disability benefits for retired players.

The NFL also operates numerous health programs for current and former players, and offers medical benefits to former players, such as joint replacement, neurological evaluations and spine treatment programs, assisted living partnerships, long-term care insurance, prescription benefits, life insurance programs, and a Medicare supplement program, according to the League. Equipment has improved, and safety has increased, including outlawing certain types of hits.


Is it sad that some former players have trouble walking, concentrating and living a “normal” life? Sure.  Is it a tragedy when a few commit suicide? Absolutely.   But it’s time that these players stop blaming others for their situations and look in the mirror. They made their choices, and for most, lived a fairy tale.
If they now choose to feel sorry for themselves, or regret their choices, fine.  But it’s a personal foul to ruin the game not just for current and future players, but for the ones who allow the League — and its former players —to be so successful: the fans.

And you don’t need your head examined to see that.

Nationally in Newsmax:


Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at

, , , , , , , , , , ,
February 12, 2013 at 10:03 am Comments (0)

Anti-Gun Idiots

These people are teaching your children.

In a horror story that must have shocked young children into lifelong nightmares, a Philadelphia fifth-grader made a gun out of paper last week and brought it into class. Thanks to the intrepid work of the officials at the school, though, crisis was averted – an administrator at D. Newlin Fell School inspected the little girl, Melody Valentin, in front of the class. This process, unsurprisingly, failed to turn up any heavy military ordinance. Nonetheless, Melody received a stern talking-to.
Philly teachers are no doubt on high alert after one of their substitutes let a child walk out of a school with an unknown women moments after the girl’s mother dropped her off.

January 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm Comments (0)

Abducted 5 Year Old Found

This is a relief.

A missing 5-year-old girl from West Philadelphia has been found alive in Upper Darby, but the search for the person who abducted her from her Cobbs Creek school is still ongoing.

Nailla Robinson was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after she was found around 4:40 a.m. by a passerby. She was hiding beneath playground equipment just outside the city, near 69th Street Terminal.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told FOX 29 News that the little girl was found “scantily clad,” cold and shivering in the rain.

The 5-year-old was apparently wearing just a T-shirt and had not been fed.

Police said she told the man who found her that she had run away from the people who took her.

How many ways did the system fail her?

Dropped off at school at 8:40, “her mother” wearing a burqa picks her up at 8:50 and no one really bats an eye?

Is there more to this story? I’d bet.

January 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm Comments (0)

Paul Ryan in Pittsburgh Tomorrow

October 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm Comments (0)

RomneyShirts: Harassment Continues

Samantha Pawlucy’s parents were met by heckling students Friday who shouted obscenities through the open windows of Charles Carroll High School.

At the same time, a lone man who identified himself as a former district teacher and administrator paced in front of the Port Richmond school with a sign supporting the sophomore student for her right to wear a Romney t-shirt to dress down day.

Pawlucy claims she was harrassed by Lynette Gaymon, her geometry teacher and humiliated for wearing the shirt Friday.

The incident has gone viral and triggered reaction from both sides. Pawlucy says she’s heard about threats from current and former students and seen them on Facebook and is afraid to go to school.

Her parents, Richard and Kristine Pawlucy went to the school today to file a complaint over the incident.

I love the mob mentality. Future Democrats, all of them.

October 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm Comments (0)

« Older Posts