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How PA stiffs towns on millions in stormwater fees

Plus, DeFoor backtracks on Forward Party.

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Thursday, May 23, 2024
Today: Gov't bills, state custody, election issue, DeFoor's dilemma, bad air, and Broad Street Market funds in jeopardy. Thanks for checking in.
Pennsylvania's government refuses to pay its stormwater fees, costing local governments millions, but a new bill would force it to pay up.

State Rep. Justin Fleming (D., Dauphin), who co-sponsored the proposal, said local governments face fines if they fail to comply with stormwater guidelines, so taxpayers foot the bill when the state doesn't pay its share.

The state’s outstanding balance with Harrisburg's Capital Region Water, for example, is more than $1.4 million, a spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that no other government entities — city, county, or federal — have indicated a similar unwillingness to pay their stormwater fees.

Fleming's bill cleared the state House's Local Government Committee on Wednesday. State Rep. Brett Miller (R., Lancaster) was the only member of his party to offer support. Other Republicans acknowledged the financial toll stormwater regulations take on municipalities but expressed concern over what these fees would do to the state’s finances.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Pa. state government refuses to pay local stormwater fees. This bill would force it to.


Spotlight PA will soon launch a new weekly newsletter focused on caregiving and caregivers across Pennsylvania. Every Tuesday, "How We Care" will feature original reporting and perspectives on how we care for one another at all stages of life, the huge economic and policy questions ahead, and how it's affecting the lives of millions of people across the state. You can sign up for How We Care here.
"I'm telling you if I hadn't run… he was coming after everyone like crazy."

—An employee of Delaware County Linen in Chester on Wednesday's workplace shooting there that killed two and injured three
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SETTLEMENT STRATEGY: Join us Thursday, May 30, from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free panel on how counties are using their opioid settlement funds, and what influences these decisions. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

Chapman State Park in Warren County, via Don H. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
Canoes lined up on a lakeshore.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
AUTHORITY ABUSE: Four related lawsuits filed this week allege physical and sexual abuse suffered by dozens of children at the hands of guards, nurses, and supervisors in juvenile detention-type facilities across Pennsylvania, the AP reports. The facilities named include several run by the state in Franklin, Montour, and Perry Counties.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
ECON CONCERN: The economy is a top issue for Pennsylvania voters headed into November's presidential election, and new nationwide polling by The Guardian found common misconceptions about the state of the economy nationwide. For example: Nearly three in five Americans wrongly believe the U.S. is in an economic recession.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.FORWARD/REVERSE: The highest-ranking official in the nation to affiliate with Andrew Yang's centrist Forward Party was supposed to be Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor. But The Inquirer (paywall) reports DeFoor backed out at the last minute this week, recommitting to the GOP as he seeks reelection to the row office in November.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
AIR CHECKS: Allegheny County has some of the worst air in the U.S., but an audit is raising questions about how its Clean Air Fund — fed by polluters' fines — is being utilized. County Controller Corey O’Connor says millions are sitting unspent while the fund's operating costs eat up the lion's share of any disbursements, via PublicSource.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
CAPITOL BRIEFS: State legislation that would allow banks to intervene when they suspect elder fraud is on the move; a bill that would eliminate the state's real estate transfer tax for first-time homebuyers is moving too; and the chief of staff for state Senate Majority Whip Ryan Aument (R., Lancaster) was charged with DUI in March.
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TEAM TESTIMONY: A former team doctor testified in a wrongful termination lawsuit that Penn State football Coach James Franklin interfered in medical decisions involving players, including after a suicide attempt.

DRAFT PICK: Pittsburgh will host the 2026 NFL Draft and Steelers President Art Rooney II predicts it will be the largest visitor event in city history, per TribLIVE. Record crowds turned out for this year's in Detroit.

TONY AWARD: Philadelphia's Wilma Theater — launching ground for James Ijames' acclaimed Fat Ham — has won the Tony Award for best regional theater, a Pennsylvania first, WHYY reports.

IN JEOPARDY: State funding for the rebuilding of Harrisburg's Broad Street Market could be in jeopardy after city officials citing "equity issues" rejected the contractor chosen to fix the fire-ravaged property, per WGAL.

FOOD FEUD: It's not Sheetz or Wawa. According to USA Today readers, the best gas station food can be found at Royal Farms, a chain with a relatively small Pennsylvania footprint but a diehard customer base.

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