March 17, 2023

Welcome back, friends, to the show that never ends! This week was the annual Dead Zone week, the week after the PA House and Senate adjourn, but the week before budget hearings begin. This phenomenon typically results in a dearth of news, so we will start with March Madness! After Pitt and Penn State both won their tournament openers, they are on a collision course to match up in the Sweet Sixteen if they both win this weekend. This will undoubtedly cause the earth to get knocked from its axis, and while we give kudos to Gov. Josh Shapiro for predicting this matchup, we shall not tell you who he picked to win, largely because half of Team Triad is NOT happy about it.

Meanwhile, some of the nation’s banks seem to be in a bit of peril and need Uncle Sugar to come in and rescue them. Seems like every time we take the training wheels off these little guys, they crash their bikes into the neighbor’s hedges. Oh well, we guess we should keep doing the same things over and over because surely we will get a different outcome someday. In the meantime, hire a landscaper.

What’s that? There is a seaweed blob the size of Connecticut poised to smash its smelliness all over the Gulf coast? That seems totally normal and not at all alarming.

Back in your Capital City, Harrisburg is finally out from under the yoke of crushing multi-million-dollar bond insurance payments that Mayor Wanda Williams was forced to deal with thanks to the, uh, generosity of her predecessors. Bright days for H-Town are ahead!

As the Statehouse takes its budget hearing hiatus, we learned today that two special elections for vacant House seats will be filled on May 16, which should finally get the chamber back to its full 203-member complement. Finally. For now.

Budget hawks in Harrisburg are already sounding the warning bell about looming state revenue shortfalls, which could begin as soon as 2025, or maybe 2028, but most definitely by 2030. Those theoretical deficits range from 12 dollars to 60 billion dollars. The moral of the story is that budget projections, dear readers, are awfully hard to make for years down the road. Hell, we can’t even predict them accurately from month to month. So calm down, take a walk outside, maybe have a glass of milk.

Governor Shapiro wants to eliminate the state’s tax on cell phones, which banks the Commonwealth a cool $124 million annually, or roughly 1% of what Ryan Reynolds just made selling Mint Mobile to T-Mobile. Expect some bipartisan agreement on this one.

Lawmakers are also taking a shot at making the state’s PA Preferred Organics program permanent, given the growing consumer demand for organic produce. Just wait until recreational weed comes to town and the first organic ganja product hits the market.

If you were not watching the Commonwealth Court this week, thank us. We were. The court has made an awfully interesting ruling on what is and what isn’t a nonprofit, which could open up a can of worms the size of a Connecticut-sized blob of seaweed. Trust us, we were around the last time the General Assembly decided to weigh in on this topic. It was not pretty, and given some gargantuan “nonprofit” entities operating in this state, the ramifications could be widespread. You’re welcome. See what you missed?

Lawmakers are once again kicking the tires on making Daylight Savings Time permanent, and PLEASE GOD LET THIS BE A THING! We often travel to Arizona, a state that never changes its clocks, and it’s glorious.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in humans who traffic in white supremacist rhetoric, and it’s not a good look, people. It is kind of tough building a world-class, inclusive economy if a bunch of chowderheads keep acting like it’s 1860.

The state has begun to track the hundreds of invasive species that have, well, invaded Pennsylvania in the last decade. Pennsylvania is also developing a battle plan to stop the next spotted lanternfly. Or brown marmorated beetle. Or snake fish. Or murder hornet. Or whatever fresh hell mother nature has in store.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry has assembled a cool “made in PA” bracket, featuring all the amazing things we make here in the Keystone State. You should check it out, and then immediately file a protest over the fact that Crayola Crayons got knocked out already (Shameless Client Plug!)

In political news, Tiger King Joe Exotic has declared he will run for president from federal prison, which won’t even make him the most unelectable candidate on the ballot by the time 2024 gets here.

On the Triad Socials, come on over and meet our newest rock star, Kelsey Denny, who joined Triad’s Pittsburgh office this week. Say hello to her, all you fine yinzers.

Also, check out one of our other rock stars, Jennifer Riley, who was feted as one of the top 50 women professionals in Pennsylvania. Respect our navigator, people!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we faced a real conundrum. We almost went with the news that an asteroid the size of 69 alligators might strike the earth soon, but we did the asteroid thing last week.  But seriously, alligators are a scientific system of measurement now?

But we decided to give this week’s award to someone right here in Dauphin County. Here is the heartwarming story of a man, high on meth, who for some reason decided to crawl inside the bathroom ceiling of the Tomato Pie Café and hide there. The man was apprehended without incident or injury. This is your annual Triad PSA: #DontDoMeth.

That’s what passes for news around here as we breathlessly await budget hearings, where cabinet secretaries have to come on in and open up the books, like in the mafia, except no one gets whacked in the garage like Tommy from Goodfellas. From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!