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Jobs in jeopardy as Penn State confronts deficit

Plus, Pa. Proud Boy guilty in Jan. 6 sedition case.

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Friday, May 5, 2023

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In today's edition: PSU layoffs, Proud Boys verdict, rail safety, wage tax, clean slate, new bills, and State College's sister city. Thanks for checking in.

Pennsylvania's largest public university could cut dozens of jobs this year as it attempts to address a multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi said there "may be 50 jobs that are in jeopardy this year," a projection that does not include fixed-term employees whose contracts will not be renewed, the university added.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Penn State estimates that about 50 full-time, non-contract employees will lose their jobs this year.

THE CONTEXT: The layoff projection comes as the university works to balance its budget by 2025, which includes reducing a projected $149 million deficit in the general funds budget, according to its fiscal office.

Last year, some university trustees who had approved Penn State’s budgets for years expressed shock at the deficit, as did Bendapudi.

Last summer, the university implemented a “strategic hiring freeze” to help address the shortfall, with some exceptions. The administration also cited financial concerns in scrapping planned Center for Racial Justice.


"What I think you saw today is some Republicans willing to work on real solutions to this crisis."

CeaseFirePA's Adam Garber on state House approval of GOP amendments to four gun safety bills that are still before the chamber
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Dogwood in Newtown, via Yoma U. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Peach-colored flowers in a garden.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.FOUND GUILTY: Former Philadelphia Proud Boys leader Zachary Rehl is facing up to 20 years in prison after being convicted of felonies, including a rare seditious conspiracy count, for his role in the U.S. Capitol siege. The verdict against Rehl and other leaders of the far-right group charged with conspiring and using force to prevent the peaceful transfer of power was handed down by a D.C. jury on Thursday.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.RAIL RULES: Tougher rail safety rules inspired by February's toxic derailment near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border were advanced by the state House Consumer Protection, Technology, and Utilities Committee in Harrisburg this week and will now go before the full House. But PennLive reports several committee members echoed ongoing questions about the state's regulatory authority, or lack thereof.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.COMMUTER TAX: Philadelphia is the only Pennsylvania city to levy wage taxes on nonresidents without giving a portion of the earnings back to the commuters' hometowns, Philly Voice reports. That would change under a bill from state Sen. Frank Farry (R., Bucks) that passed out of the Senate this week. The wage tax would remain for physical commuters, but Philadelphia wouldn't get to keep it all.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.CLEAN SLATED: CNHI reports Pennsylvania is one step closer to expanding its Clean Slate Law to also cover certain low-level, nonviolent, and drug felonies. A bill advanced by the state House Judiciary Committee this week takes aim at resulting barriers around employment, housing, and education. It does not address existing concerns about records being improperly sealed under the law.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.CAPITOL BRIEFS: State Rep. Tarah Probst (D., Monroe) wants to reban consumer-grade fireworks; state Reps. Dave Madsen (D., Dauphin), Chris Pielli (D., Chester), and Joshua Siegel (D., Lehigh) want to make four-day work weeks happen here; and state Reps. Chris Rabb (D., Philly) and Donna Bullock (D., Philly) want "demographic impact statements" done before lawmakers approve new crimes.
🏆 TEST YOUR PA IQ: If you think you've been paying attention to the news, we're here to help you prove it: Put your knowledge to the test with the latest edition of The Great PA News Quiz: ‘23 MVP, Star Wars pilgrims, cross-party confusion, and Shapiro’s first law.

TURBO TAXED: All told, 158,778 Pennsylvanians will receive some money (most around $30) from Turbo Tax's $141 million multi-state settlement for misleading customers into paying for free services.

SISTER CITIES: State College, Pennsylvania, and Nizhyn, Ukraine, became sister cities this week in a ceremony that brought Nizhyn's emotional mayor, Oleksandr Kodola, to Happy Valley, CDT reports.

BIG OVERHAUL: Beaver Stadium is one step closer to beginning a $700 million renovation now that a Penn State trustees' committee has approved phase one of the long-awaited and massive makeover.

PHILLY FANATIC: Noted Sixers fanatic Gov. Josh Shapiro is giving Celtics fans no quarter as the teams face off in the playoffs, and his Massachusetts counterpart razzed him about it after Wednesday's lopsided Celtics win.

NOO JERSEY: If anyone reading this is missing nearly 500 pounds of cooked pasta, give Old Bridge, New Jersey, a quick call

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Machinations

Congrats to our daily winners: Barbara F., Susan D., Lynne E., Vicki U., Jon W., Elaine C., Don H., Wendy A., Becky C., Julie K., Nancy S., Kimberly D., Stacy S., Georgann J., Beth H., Bob C., William Z., Susan N.-Z., Susan R., Kim C., James B., Stanley J., Dennis M., Dianne K., Tom M., Craig W., Johnny C., Starr B., Keith W., Michelle T., and Ada M.
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