Author Archives: ccd4

Plenty to reform around here!

Excerpt from “The Best- and Worst-Run States in America: A Survey of All 50” by Samuel Stebbins and Evan Comen, 24/7 Wall St., December 6, 2017. Sad to say, only Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico and Louisiana rank lower than our own once-fair Commonwealth, which is described thusly:

46. Pennsylvania
2016 Unemployment: 5.4% (9th highest)
Pension funded ratio: 55.8% (5th lowest)
Credit rating and outlook: Aa3/Stable
Poverty: 12.9% (23rd lowest)

Pennsylvania is one of only three states with no money saved to close budget gaps in the event of declining tax revenue. And this will likely be a problem in the coming years as the state’s tax base is eroding. Nearly 11,000 more people left Pennsylvania in 2016 than moved in.

A dwindling population does little to spur economic growth. Pennsylvania’s GDP expanded by only 0.6% in 2016, even as the U.S. economy grew by 1.5%. The Keystone State’s need for improved economic conditions is more dire than most states’ as evidenced by the relative the share of workers out of a job. Pennsylvania’s 5.4% unemployment rate is higher than the 4.9% U.S. rate and among the 10 worst of all states.

Grad students say GOP provision will tax them out of school

by Aubrey Whelan,, 12/8/17

Katie Warczak has had a productive first year in her graduate program at Penn State University.

She taught a class of undergraduates, landed a coveted spot on a research project, and got accepted into her department’s Ph.D. program. But these days the student of 20th century American literature is focusing more and more on something far afield from her area of expertise: the tax bill moving through Congress.

That’s because, if a single provision in the House version of the bill makes it into the final law, Warczak says she’ll likely have to leave school. She won’t be able to afford the taxes.

Large universities’ infrastructures depend in part on the work of graduate students, who pay taxes on the small stipends they get for teaching classes and conducting research. But competitive schools like Penn State generally sweeten the deal by waiving their tuition fees, too.

It’s money that grad students say never actually makes its way into their wallets. But it’s money the House has proposed taxing as income, in a move that tax experts say would upend the finances of students who, in many cases, are cash-strapped as it is.

A doctoral student with a $15,000-per-year stipend and a tuition waiver of $40,000 could end up paying as much as $5,000 more in taxes….

keep reading at

Molly on the Issues: Climate Change

email from Molly Sheehan, 12/7/17

It is time for a practical approach in Congress. A system where a problem is addressed based on the best possible solution for the people, and not for political gain. After earning my PhD in biochemistry and biophysics I’m eager to apply my scientific skill-set to work for the people in Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district.

So many of the issues facing our country are improved upon when scientific reasoning is applied.

Research is available on all of the topics our decision makers in congress debate. However researched positions and pragmatic solutions are often overlooked in favor of funding and political gain. I would like to upset that system. I’m running to overcome the practice of being in debt to the special interests that help win elections. I’m running in order to save our environment, because science says it needs saving. I’m running because Congress needs someone who knows how to protect our fields, streams, and backyards from pollutants and toxic industry practices. We need an advocate for our children and for preventative long term solutions that look beyond the next election cycle.

Climate change presents serious threats to both public health and national security and there is still time to drastically improve our future outcomes. I believe investment in green energy research is the key to removing our dependence on oil from unstable regions which in turn slows climate change. As our environment shifts and becomes unpredictable, resources will become scarce in certain regions, leading to wars and increased global instability and health disasters. Crafting policies that will prevent such instability is paramount for preventing the future loss of both American citizens here at home and our soldiers stationed abroad.

Read more about my stance on climate change as well as other issues I will prioritize as the Candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District.

Protesters to Costello: Vote against tax bill

By Bill Rettew, Daily Local News, 12/8/127

WEST CHESTER >> Fifteen demonstrators urged U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, to vote against a proposed GOP tax overhaul bill during a Thursday sit-in protest at his local office.

Several organizations were represented, including an anti-pipeline group, labor union leaders, religious organizations, environmentalists and West Chester University students.

Protesters entered the congressional office at 9 a.m. and left at 1:30 p.m. Some stood, while others sat on the floor discussing their concerns with Costello’s staff….

keep reading at Daily Local News