Let’s adopt the GOP’s national platform

Jim Hightower, 1/27/15

Well now, here’s some unexpected news!

It comes from what purports to be an official document of the National Republican Party. And – wow! – the policy positions it contains show that party leaders really are serious about coming to their senses and rejecting the plutocratic extremism and far-right wackiness that was to evident in their congressional, and gubernatorial campaigns.

Right at the top, this 18-page manifesto proclaims that, “Our government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose.” ALL the people! Forget pontifications by Wall Street billionaires….

keep reading at Jim Hightower (sad to say, it turns out this is not a recent R platform)

Pennsylvania’s Governor Breaks Through a G.O.P. Tide

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER, New York Times, 1/23/15

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Standing outside the Capitol here — an ornate jewel wedged in the center of this recession-beaten industrial city — the businessman and political neophyte Tom Wolf told the gathered crowd this week, “I’m going to be an unconventional governor.”

Actually, Mr. Wolf already is. The only person to defeat a sitting governor in the four decades that Pennsylvania has allowed its chief executive a second term, Mr. Wolf is also the only Democrat in the country who picked off a Republican governor….

keep reading at New York Times

All Politics is Local

by Dick Bingham, Zone 8 (KAD) Chair, in Kennett Area Dems newsletter, Jan. 2015

The phrase “All Politics Is Local” is often lost in the glare of National and International headlines. It was true when the phrase was first coined back in the 1930’s and it remains so today. All politics starts with us, and we shape the political dialog by how we vote or, all too often, when we do not vote.

In the 2014 elections, when Republicans won race after race across the country, only 35% of registered voters turned out to vote….

keep reading in Kennett Area Dems newsletter

Governor Wolf to supporters

email, 1/21/15

It’s my first full-day as Governor of Pennsylvania, but I had to take a moment to say thanks.

You took a chance on a different kind of leader — one who isn’t a product of the political system — so I’ll never forget that I’m here because of people like you who care deeply about our commonwealth.

As governor, I will do everything in my power to make Pennsylvania a place where jobs pay, schools teach, and government works.

Shortly after taking office, I kept my promise and signed two executive orders aimed at reforming government and restoring the public’s trust. These orders ban gifts for those who work in my office and get rid of no-bid legal contracts in the executive branch.

It’s a good start, but we have a lot more work to do together to reclaim Pennsylvania and bring about the change we fought for in the election.

I am asking for ideas, I am asking for passion, and I am asking for hard work.

Because I know that if we continue to come together with a sense of shared purpose, we can build the better future that Pennsylvania deserves.

Say you’re ready to work alongside me in the months ahead:

I can’t thank you enough,

Tom Wolf

President’s Capital Gains Tax Proposals Would Make Tax Code More Efficient and Fair

By Chuck Marr and Chye-Ching Huang, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 18, 2015

The tax code strongly favors income from capital gains — increases in the value of assets, such as stocks — over income from wages and salaries. These preferences are economically inefficient: they promote tax schemes that convert ordinary income into capital gains and encourage people to hold assets just to escape tax, even if they have better investment opportunities. They are also highly regressive, since capital gains are heavily concentrated at the top of the income scale. The President has proposed to make the tax code more efficient and equitable by reducing one of the biggest subsidies for capital gains (a preferential rate compared to wage and salary income) and largely eliminating another (the ability to avoid capital gains tax completely by holding on to an asset until death). …

President's Proposal cbpp 1-18-15tax-f1

keep reading and download the report at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Dinniman to Introduce Bill to Stop Standardized Tests as Graduation Requirements

Senatordinniman.com, January 16, 2015

WEST CHESTER (January 16) – State Senator Andy Dinniman said the lack of resources in Pennsylvania’s financially distressed public schools is so stark that the use of the Keystone Exams as graduate requirements must be stopped before they exacerbate an already dire situation.

“It’s clear to me that there are two systems of public education in Pennsylvania: separate and unequal,” said Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Until we resolve that discrepancy, how can we, in good conscience, stamp ‘failure’ on the backs of kids who lack the teachers, resources and classes to pass such standardized tests? To continue down this path without addressing such basic issues is beyond the pale. It’s downright shameful. Continue reading