The proposed Montgomery County budget for 2019 includes an unacceptable increase in funding for the Courthouse Campus project in Norristown. This initiative was originally estimated to cost a sizable $281 million but has suddenly risen to a shocking $406 million. That is a jump of $125 million, or 44 percent, for a plan that is already the most expensive capital improvement project in County history.
To make matters worse, I have received letters from politicians including Senator Bob Casey, Governor Tom Wolf and State Representatives Matt Bradford and Mary Jo Daley, as well as notes from various labor and trade unions, pushing me to vote ‘Yes’ on the enactment of a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA”).
Doing so would mandate the use of union labor, thereby excluding 80 percent of otherwise qualified construction firms from participating in the bidding process.
Across the board, PLAs reduce competition and grow construction costs by an average of 20 percent. In this case, that means the Courthouse Campus project could balloon by an additional $80-100 million and reach a total expenditure of half a billion dollars!
Despite vast pressure from political insiders, I will not pander to lobbyists and special interest groups at the expense of Montgomery County taxpayers.
Therefore, I have asked my fellow County Commissioners for common-sense compromise to prevent the already bloated cost of the Courthouse Campus project from further spiraling out of control.
If my fellow Commissioners join me in rejecting a reckless PLA and agree to scale back the Courthouse Campus project to the initial cost of $281 million, I will vote in support of the proposed 2019 Budget to help give the residents, families and businesses of Montgomery County a bi-partisan victory.
Treason Trials Starting??? — Yesterday (Nov. 28) President Trump retweeted a meme showing Hillary, Bill, Obama and others behind bars with the words Now that Russia Collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?
What we found fascinating was the near silence yesterday. The President of the United States is implying two of the last three administrations were treasonous and the establishment media ignored it albeit that seems to be changing.
Vlogger Brenden Dilley points out that it is not just Trump’s fans in the U.S. that follow his tweets. Every world leader does. What were they thinking when they saw it? Brenden’s discussion starts at the 24:30 mark.
President Trump has been remarkably successful in keeping the political promises he has made. One of them was locking her up. It warms our hearts that he might do it.
Hillary Gets Away With It? Let’s See — President Trump threw out an interesting bit at his rally last night (Aug.30) in Evansville, Ind.
Our biggest obstacle and their greatest ally actually is the media. You can believe it. We have stories that are so big and the media doesn’t pick them up. We have stories that if that was about a Republican or a conservative it would be front page of every newspaper and we have them and they just don’t want to write them. It’s a dishonest group of people. I will tell you that. You can have the biggest story about Hillary Clinton, I mean just look at what she’s getting away with but let’s see if she gets away with it, let’s see.
He kept his promise on NAFTA. Maybe he will keep his promise too about locking her up.
His statement can be found at about the 27 minute mark:
Lou Barletta Triggers Kochs, Globalists Want Casey — The globalist Koch Brothers — Charles and David — have shown their true colors and are working to save a Pennsylvania senate seat for fellow globalist Bobby Casey, a Democrat, and to keep it from falling into the hands of pro-citizen Lou Barletta.
The Kochs say it is because Lou voted for the budget in March which called for increased spending.
Sure it is (wink). The real reason is because Lou is an opponent of open borders and allowing MS-13 and other gang-bangers to traffic cheap labor for industrialists and other neo-feudalists.
See where Bernie Sanders just praised the Kochs? He doesn’t like Trump’s Americans first policy either.
Pain Coming For Democrats? — Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, spent the last two days testifying before Congress about the behavior of FBI officials in their investigations of Hillary Clinton’s, private, poorly secured email server, with FBI director Christopher Wray joining him Monday (June 18).
They strongly hinted the matter is not over. The illustration below — click on it for a better view — accurately describes Wray’s answers to Sen. Ted Cruz, which can be seen first hand here at about the 3:07 mark.
The Education Access Program (EAP) budget item has increased by nearly 600 percent since the 2014-2015 budget cycle. Initially, the EAP had a $3.95 million budget. It grew to over $23 million last year. If you dig into it a little, you’ll find that the funds from the Program have been requested and spent on projects mainly to benefit Senate Democrats. In some cases, the funds go to school districts directly, but the majority of the funds have gone to support organizations like: The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, The Bryn Mawr Film Institute, and The Pittsburgh Opera.
Private individuals making donations to charitable organizations is a vital part of civil society. When government forces taxpayers to support particular organizations, that is another matter entirely. Lawmakers’ ability to present giant cardboard checks to local charities is a pernicious part of the “incumbent protection” program designed to make it harder to dislodge elected officials once they are elected to office. Furthermore, over the course of recent history, we have seen members of the General Assembly direct tax-dollars to “charities” that directly benefited them financially, or organizations that were run by their campaign contributors.
Beyond the problems associated with doling out tax dollars to favored charities for good public relations, sending funds to school districts via the EAP is never a one-time deal. One of the quirks in how Pennsylvania funds school districts is a “hold harmless” provision. Essentially, the amount of money sent to a school district from state taxpayers cannot be decreased. In other words, the payments from the EAP to school districts will always be included in the “Basic Education Funding” the school receives from the Commonwealth. A $10,000 grant automatically turns into an additional $10,000 included in the next year’s (and the next, etc.) baseline funding.
Despite an insistence almost every year that the state budget is “cut to the bone,” questionable spending through the EAP and other programs illustrates that that is not the case. Too many members of the General Assembly confuse wants and needs when it comes to spending tax dollars. As we move through the budget process, our elected officials would be wise to take a closer look at where our money is actually going.
Pennsylvania Shadow Budgets Are Font Of Corruption
By Leo Knepper
One of the only good things to come out of last year’s budget was a transfer of $300 million from Pennsylvania’s shadow budget to the General Fund to cover the overspending. The shadow budget is comprised of Special Funds that exist outside of the normal budgeting process. Several lawmakers found over $1 billion in excess money in these accounts last year. After a great deal of public pressure, the General Assembly agreed to transfer $300 million from the shadow accounts to the general fund. The $300 million was money already collected by the state and collecting interest in a savings account. To borrow from our favorite clickbait headlines, “You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!”
Rather than taking funds from the extra $1 billion that lawmakers identified, Governor Wolf created a new special fund. For this new special fund, Wolf borrowed $200 million against the State Farm Show Complex through a “leaseback” agreement. The arrangement is basically a loan that will cost taxpayers $191 million in interest over the next twenty-nine years. But wait, there’s more.
“The winner was Blackford Ventures, a Lancaster County development company that provides government entities and private businesses with cash. After Blackford won the bid, the company created a separate firm, Municipal Real Estate Funding, in December to handle the Farm Show transaction. Both Blackford and Municipal Real Estate are listed on the contract.
“The company is owned by Richard Welkowitz, a one-time Teamster laborer turned entrepreneur. Blackford’s chief executive officer is Mike Brubaker, a former Republican state senator.” (Emphasis added)
Several members of the Pennsylvania House are exploring legal options to halt the lease. True to form, the Wolf administration may have overstepped its legal authority in entering the agreement. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, only the General Assembly must approve the issuance of new debt with very limited exceptions. The issue revolves around whether the deal is a lease or a loan. There is also the matter of Governor Wolf creating a Special Fund out of whole cloth in order to subvert the intent of the General Assembly. Given the PA Supreme Court’s recent willingness create new powers for itself, we are skeptical that they would be willing to intervene on behalf of taxpayers in this instance.
Lawmakers are exploring the option of requiring the Wolf administration to make the lease payments from the Executive Branch’s budget. We will let you know if they take that route.
Amazon Postal Cronyism And President Trump — President Trump, this morning, tweeted:
I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!
Note the parentheses around “or do they.”
You don’t need to be a brain surgeon like Ben Carson to get that he is expressing a suspicion that the leaders of the United States Postal Service are taking bribes.
It is not an unfair suspicion.
Not even a week ago — March 28 — President Trump fired Dr. David Shulkin as secretary of Veterans Affairs, replacing him with Ronny L. Jackson, who had been the White House doctor and is a Navy admiral.
Shulkin last summer took his wife on a luxurious European vacation on the taxpayer dime and accepted gifts that could be construed as graft. He also was by many accounts dragging his feet on needed reforms.
So if Amazon is getting the great taxpayer subsidy via the postal service as it appears why would one not expect palms to be getting greased?
Biden Kerry Chicom News Judgement — The media is making a YUGE story about a sex worker saying she shagged then businessman Donald Trump 12 years ago.
Interesting we guess. Two decades ago we’d have been real upset. Totally outraged. Callouses grow though.
Two decades ago the media would have killed the story, of course, just as they are killing another far, far, far more significant one.
Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, and Christopher Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, are in business together. Their company is called Rosemont Capital. Subsidiaries include Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC, Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, and Rosemont Realty.
Rosemont is the name of the Heinz family estate outside of Pittsburgh.
Anyway, Rosemont has made a series of great business deals with the Chinese. These deals came on the heels of diplomatic missions directed by the principles’ parents that were puzzlingly beneficial to Beijing.
Anyway, Mr. President, God bless you. We don’t care how many porn queens you shagged. You love this country and you are looking out for us, unlike the hypocrites and, yes, traitors who populate our Capital.
Hansjorg Wyss Sex Assault Investigation Reopens — With the talk about the release of the Congressional memo revealing FBI interference on behalf of Hillary Clinton and attempts to undermine the Trump Administration after The Donald’s victory, we’d like to call attention to a story not being widely reported regarding another major Clinton supporter.
An investigation into sexual assault by Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has been reopened by Fredric M. Knapp, the Morris County, N. J., prosecutor.
Wyss is accused of brutally assaulting former employee Jacqueline Long on April 3, 2011, at the Governor Morris Hotel in Morristown.
Wyss is a boardmember of the progressive Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta, the strange man who chaired Hillary’s failed 2016 campaign.
Wyss donated $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2013 to support “the progress women and girls have made in the 20 years since the UN Fourth World Conference on Women.”
The Wyss Foundation also gave $110 million to progressive activist groups in 2014 and 2015. It should be noted that Podesta sat on the board from 2009 to 2013.
Wyss also was the architect for an aggressive $100 million “Democracy Program” in 2016, which sought to create a “surge of registration,” as reported by The Daily Caller.
Wyss’ company Synthes Inc had to pay a $23.8 million fine in 2011 after it was found to have conducted illegal human experiments that resulted in the deaths of three elderly patients.