TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 5TH, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a $36 billion spending plan for 2020-21 that calls for universal full-day kindergarten, a revamped strategy for cost-sharing for state police service and a $200 million scholarship program for students in the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education. Republicans blasted the over-spending. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Browne, R-Lehigh County, said the Republicans are going to push back against the Wolf administration over-spending out of concern that it will “snowball” from year-to-year if left unchecked.

Ellwood City Medical Center can no longer officially operate as a hospital after its provisional license expired last week.  The Beaver County Times says patients still have access to medical records, but it’s unclear how the 20 remaining employees are affected.  The license was the second of a maximum of four provisional licenses the medical center could receive from the state Department of Health.  That license expired on January 28th and a spokesperson for the Department of Health said Ellwood City could no longer meet the minimum requirements to get that provisional license.

State police are still investigating a death in Slippery Rock last week.  Slippery Rock University officials alerted students Saturday to the death of a person at a non-University, off-campus house on Keister Road.  The notice said students were not in any danger.  It’s unclear if the person had a connection to the university.

The state Gaming Control Board says people across Pennsylvania placed over 30-and-a-half-million dollars in Super Bowl wagers.  Preliminary reports show retail and online sports betting payouts totaled just over 34-million dollars, which resulted in a loss of over three-million for operators.  This year, the second allowing legal sports wagering in the Commonwealth, patrons could place bets through a dozen retail locations and eight online wagering sites.  Reports also indicated that nearly 200-thousand people logged onto those sites in the state.

The former manager of a Butler County restaurant is accused of hiring her boyfriend while he was in jail.  Butler Township police say Michelle Krzewinski stole 50-thousand-dollars from Long John Silver’s by sending her boyfriend checks without his setting foot in the restaurant.  She’s facing a host of theft-related charges and an investigation for a similar crime in Beaver County.

The reaction to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union is falling along party lines with the commonwealth’s two U-S senators.  Republican Pat Toomey says Trump deserves credit for his pro-growth policies that have led to bigger paychecks for blue-collar workers.  Democrat Bob Casey said Trump is pushing tax cuts for the super-rich while ripping health care from millions of people.

Gov. Tom Wolf has some positive budget news as part of today’s annual budget address yesterday. The Department of Revenue reported that for the month of January, collections totaled 3.1 billion dollars, 3 percent ahead of anticipated revenue. More than halfway through the current fiscal year, the state budget is running a surplus of almost 160 million dollars.  Collections of the Personal Income Tax led the way with 7.8 billion dollars for the year.

A man from Brighton Township says he wants to challenge state Representative Josh Kail this fall.  Bob Williams says he’s circulating petitions to get on the Democratic Primary ballot in the hopes the 54-year-old can be the voice of the people, according to the Beaver County Times.  Kail is in his first reelection campaign for the 15th District.

A former Pennsylvania state trooper is awaiting sentencing for lying on a background check form.  Chad Corbett was convicted yesterday in Westmoreland County of making a false statement.  Jurors found Corbett guilty of lying about his criminal record while trying to buy back his service weapons in 2018.