w w w. ca p i ta l- wat c h . c o m
CapitalWatch VOL. 5 NO. 3
inside Unemployment Compensation funding a top topic at budget hearing PAGE 4 Corbett administration restricts access to Capitol PAGE 6 Rep. Josephs urges swift action on Marriage Equality Act PAGE 7 Businesses worry about talk of reclassifying ‘Roll-YourOwn’ tobacco shops PAGE 9 EDITORIAL: House Bill not about women’s health PAGE 13
See PAGE 13 for details
Supreme Court orders House special elections to be held April 24 By a 4-3 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered House Speaker Sam Smith to hold six special elections on primary day, April 24. This was part of a bigger, wider legal battle. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille led a 4-3 court to reject the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s House and Senate maps last month and further incurred GOP legislative leader shock and anger by ordering the 2001 district maps to be in force for this year’s election. GOP House and Senate leaders filed federal lawsuits, and a Latino group joined them in suing to rule out elections on the 2001 district maps, but Federal Judge R. Barclay Surrick ruled against them. When none of those groups filed an immediate appeal, many lawyers on both sides said that meant the federal court likely would now not hear such challenges before the April 24 primary. Smith had refused to call the House special elections, saying by his interpretation of state law, he was not allowed to do so in a reapportionment year until the new maps took effect. A Philadelphia group of citizens filed the lawsuit to force his hand. Their attorneys and House Democrats disagreed with Smith’s interpretation, saying Smith could not use a pending reapportionment plan to avoid calling special
By Peter L. DeCoursey, Capitolwire
The State Supreme Court has ordered House Speaker Sam Smith to schedule special elections for six vacant House seats for April 24, the same day as the primary election. The election calendar was thrown into flux last month when the Supreme Court tossed out the reapportionment plan approved in December by the General Assembly. The lines for state House and Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years based on the latest census information.
elections to fill unexpired terms under the old map. The four Supreme Court justices agreed with the Democrats and the filers of the lawsuit. They ruled Smith had to call the special election to fill unexpired terms by the next scheduled election. That is primary day, April 24, the justices noted. The April 24 primary is now less than 50 days away, less than the 60 days mandated by state law. But the justices still
ordered the elections occur on the primary day: “We recognize that Section 2778 contemplates that a special election not occur less than sixty days after issuance of a writ of election, and that this per curiam order, of necessity, is issuing less than sixty days prior to the scheduled primary elections, with which the special elections must now coincide. “Therefore, the Secretary of the Commonwealth is hereby
authorized to adjust the election procedure timeline as necessary, in order to permit the special elections to proceed on April 24, 2012.” House and Senate Republican leaders had also hoped, in vain, that the Supreme Court might postpone the April 24 primary until the new districts could be redone. But now the special elections and the primary, and general to follow them, will be continued on page 3
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march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
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Supreme Court orders House special elections to be held April 24 continued from page 1
held in the 2001 districts. GOP leaders say those districts are unconstitutional because of major population deviation. One district now tops 70,000 residents and another is close to 50,000. But federal courts have rejected those arguments and state courts have ignored them. The Legislature has not moved the primary because the House GOP lacks the votes to do so, legislative leaders have acknowledged. The court in its opinion on the special elections appears to specifically allow them to still change the primary if they can. The court’s opinion simply orders the special elections to be held on primary day, noting that it is now scheduled for April 24. Chief Justice Castille, and three Democrats, Max Baer, Debra Todd, and Seamus McCaffrey, voted for the special election decision and the original decision more than a month ago to reject the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s maps. Dissenting from the new ruling were Castille’s three Republican colleagues: Justices, Tom Saylor, Mike Eakin and Joan Orie Melvin. Saylor, Eakin and Melvin voted that the commission plan
was constitutional, but tougher standards should apply in 2021 for the next redistricting. The court order stated: “The Speaker does not dispute that his duty, as set forth in Section 2 of Article II, is mandatory, ministerial and nondiscretionary. Nor does the Speaker dispute that he was fully authorized to issue writs of election as soon as these vacancies arose in January. It is also undisputed that the next regularly scheduled election, following the vacancies, is the primary election currently scheduled for April 24, 2012. And, the Speaker does not dispute that he was empowered to issue writs of election to ensure that these vacancies in the House were filled at that primary election. Accordingly, under the Constitution, the Speaker must issue the writs.” They also dealt with Smith’s argument that he ought to wait to call special elections for unexpired terms while the new plan is still being crafted after the court rejected the commission’s initial effort. The court order stated: “Every Pennsylvania House seat is voted upon every two years. A new reapportionment plan, once final, takes effect at the next ensuing primary and general election; it does
not operate retroactively to remake the districts of sitting House members for the remainder of their terms; it simply does not disrupt existing terms. “The district boundaries for the six vacant seats at issue here were set in the 2001 Final Reapportionment Plan, and the new members who would be elected to serve the remainder of their terms will merely step into the shoes of their predecessors -- just as the Speaker and every other sitting House member who is currently seated under the districts set forth in the 2001 redistricting map. While the 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission continues its work on a new reapportionment plan going forward, there is no question about what districts are involved here; they are the six districts whose seats have been vacant since January 2012.” Saylor, Eakin and Orie Melvin disagreed, saying Smith did have the right to wait out the reapportionment process, and that the statute giving him that power was constitutional. Saylor added: “nor do I regard it as the Court’s role to recast statutes which it may view with suspicion.” CW
Sen. Piccola questions Corbett budget The state Senate Education Committee chairman said Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget “guts” a key long-running state accountability program. Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin, said Govs. Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell developed the Keystone Exams, both as assessments and graduation tests, in 10 subject areas. He said the proposal by Corbett and Education Secretary Ron Tomalis to limit that to three subject areas – Biology, Literature and Algebra I – constituted “the gutting of Keystone exams.” “I just don’t understand the rationale for doing what you are doing. I view the administration’s actions here as a diminution of accountability,” Piccola said. “I think we have an excellent product. I don’t understand why we are abandoning that product.” His comments came as Tomalis testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee for the department’s annual budget hearing. The governor is asking for $15 million to implement the Keystone Exams. CW
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Unemployment Compensation funding a top topic at budget hearing Pennsylvania’s employers continue to pay increasing business taxes to satisfy a nearly $3.5 billion debt to the federal government for money borrowed to pay for unemployment compensation benefits. So it wasn’t surprising that there was plenty of discussion about the state’s currently insolvent unemployment compensation system during a March 1 House budget hearing for the Department of Labor and Industry. But that discussion seems to be at an impasse. Democrats want employers to pay more while the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett is looking at eligibility for benefits. “It’s no one’s fault, the recession hit, and it was one of the consequences of it,” said Rep. Bill Keller, D-Philadelphia, about the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Trust Fund insolvency. Having said that, Keller, the minority chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee, went on to warn Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway against any plan to address insolvency that includes changes for unemployment beneficiaries. “We can’t take it out of eligibility, and we can’t take it out of the claimants’ end – benefits – there’s just not enough money in there to fix this huge problem,” said Keller. Keller said the only way to bring the needed revenues into the fund was to increase the contributions made to the fund by state employers. But Hearthway countered that employers are already paying higher taxes to the federal government to pay for all of the
money borrowed for the benefits received by Pennsylvania’s unemployed since the state’s UC fund ran out on money. Keller and other Democrats have suggested increasing the taxable wage base upon which Pennsylvania employers make their payments to the fund, something opposed by the Corbett administration and most of their Republican allies in the Legislature. Currently, employers base their payments on the first $8,000 of each employee’s salary. That base amount hasn’t been changed since 1984, and supporters of increasing that amount say the current level is out of date and far below what other states use. For an employer’s federal unemployment tax, the wage base is $7,000. “How are we going to increase revenue into the fund by not going anywhere near increasing the taxable wage base?” Keller asked Hearthway. Hearthway, both in her response to Keller and in other remarks during the hearing, argued the only way to fix the problem is through “shared pain” and that employers already “have that additional pain felt” from the increasing federal taxes to pay the state’s UC debt. “We are looking at eligibility. I think that is a more targeted approach … it’s something that’s never been looked at in Pennsylvania, so it has never been updated,” said Hearthway. She added addressing benefits was unsuccessful when the Legislature attempted to do that in June, so the administration determined eligibility changes to be another
potential option. She also noted that while Pennsylvania’s taxable wage base is below that of other states, the tax rate employers pay in conjunction with that base wage positions Pennsylvania as having the 13th-highest UC employer tax burden in the nation. Hearthway acknowledged the wage base could be increased, but it would only be a viable option if the tax rate were reduced in order to make the overall changes revenue neutral, having no additional impact on employers. Keller said that wouldn’t get the state any closer to solvency: “It leaves us with the same amount of money.” One thing upon which everyone during the hearing did agree was the need to work expeditiously to enact legislation to allow the department to issue a bond – for as much as $4.5 billion - with the proceeds used to pay off the debt to the federal government. The measure awaits Senate consideration of changes made to the bill by the House. On Jan. 1, 2011, the federal government began requiring the repayment of the borrowed UC money, and Pennsylvania assessed an interest tax on state employers to make those payments. The 0.44 percent tax generated the $104.6 million interest payment required by the federal government. However, as long as there is an outstanding debt, the federal government will assess, on an annual basis, an additional 0.3 percent penalty upon the normal federal UC tax (FUTA) credit state
employers receive. During the current calendar year, it is estimated that penalty will cost state employers $110 million. To help avoid that, the bond issuance would supply the state the option of giving employers a longer time to pay off the debt without the financial impact of federal penalties. The bill would allow the state to set an interest tax rate and use those revenues to both pay the interest on outstanding federal UC loans as well as bond obligations and bond administration expenses. If the current outstanding debt is paid off by Nov. 10, the federal government is offering states the ability to borrow additional UC funds tax-free for two years. However, Hearthway cautioned lawmakers that just doing the bond without doing something about solvency isn’t a real solution for the state’s employers. “The bond, by itself, would not be favorable to the employers because you have the price of servicing the bond on top of the increased borrowing … it’s like refinancing but not paying off your entire mortgage,” explained Hearthway. “If it’s just the bond without solvency measures the employers will get hit at both ends,” having to both repay the borrowing and pay the servicing costs of the bond, she said. During the hearing, Hearthway also answered more questions about the Corbett administration’s “Keystone Works” job program. Most of the questions and responses mirrored those made last week during the department’s Senate budget hearing. CW
Rep. Daley urges federal dollars to help Pennsylvanians keep homes State Rep. Peter J. Daley II, D-Fayette/ Washington, and leaders in the House Democratic Caucus, called on the state Attorney General’s office to commit to using Pennsylvania’s share of a federal settlement to fund a state program that helps families facing foreclosure to stay in their homes. Pennsylvania has secured $266 million of a $25 billion joint state-federal settlement over “robo-signing” and other abuses involving mortgage servicing and foreclosure proceedings. Daley, who serves as Democratic Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, which reviews and considers legislation involving the banking and financial services, said the settlement couldn’t have come at a better time and, in a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, asked that the money be committed to Pennsylvania’s Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Pro-
gram (HEMAP), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). “HEMAP suffered a devastating 80-percent cut in last year’s budget, which forced PHFA to suspend the program,” Daley said. “This year’s budget proposal contains no money to fund HEMAP, which could mean that thousands more Pennsylvania families could lose their homes to foreclosure this year.” According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures in Pennsylvania increased 23.6 percent from 3,692 in January 2011 to 4,566 in January 2012. Nationally, default notices were down by 22 percent from this time last year; notices in Pennsylvania increased by 112 percent during the same period. “Pennsylvania is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, and our economy – while slowly improving – is still fragile,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegh-
eny. “By fully funding “Facing home forecloHEMAP, we can provide sure is a scary thing,” Daley some critical stability to said. “With programs like Pennsylvania families and HEMAP and organizations to our overall economy.” like PHFA, families don’t “For the past 29 years, have to face this by themHEMAP has saved more selves. Arming people with than 40,000 families from the appropriate resources foreclosure,” Daley said. and tools will go a long way “Not only is this good for to lowering the foreclosure families, but it helps to numbers in Pennsylvania, stabilize neighborhoods Rep. Pete Daley which means more families and communities, and can stay in their homes.” ultimately puts Pennsylvania on a path Pennsylvania’s Office of Attorney to continued economic recovery.” General is charged with administering Through HEMAP, which is a revolv- Pennsylvania’s share of the federal seting loan fund that requires payback with tlement. The agreement is with Ally, interest, lenders are made whole. In fis- Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase cal year 2007-08 through 2009-10, loan and Wells Fargo and addresses concerns repayments represented about 50 per- identified by state and federal investigacent of HEMAP’s funding. HEMAP has tors over loan servicer practices, which long been considered a national model in may have resulted in abusive foreclosure preventing home foreclosure. practices. CW
news NEWS 5 5
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
March 2012 CAPITAL WATCH advertorial
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Walter S. “Chip” Peake Vice President and General Counsel Lutron Electronics
Walter "Chip" Peake joined Lutron in 2003, and led the transformation of the corporate legal function into a broad, multi-disciplinary group, closely integrated with senior leadership and focused on enhancing the value of the business. Peake earned an A.B. degree in Economics from Duke University, and subsequently received his J. D. degree from the Duke University School of Law. He is a member of the American Bar Association and a former Board Member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.
CW: What are your firm's major products/services?
CW: What are your near-term and long-term goals for the firm?
CW: Where does the firm have business locations?
WP: Lutron Electronics, headquartered in Coopersburg, PA, designs and manufactures energy-saving light controls, automated window treatments and appliance modules for both the residential and commercial markets. Its innovative, intuitive products can be used to control everything from a single light, to every light, shade and even stand-by power in a home or building.
WP: Lutron goals, now and in the future, are clearly defined by our five principles:
WP: In addition to our world headquarters in Coopersburg, PA, Lutron maintains sales and training offices in eight other states and Washington, DC. Our international offices include London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore, São Paulo, and Dubai.
Lutron products make any space more versatile, while enhancing ambiance, comfort and productivity. By combining our products and light control strategies, Lutron solutions can contribute lighting energy savings of up to 60% depending on the installation, and certain solutions can deliver a payback of less than three years. Lutron light controls are eco-friendly additions to the home and workplace, extending bulb life and reducing electricity use. Founded in 1961, Lutron estimates that the installed base of its products saves the nation nearly 10 billion KWh of electricity, or approximately $1 billion in utility costs per year. While it's true that all Lutron dimmers save energy, that's just the beginning of our commitment to green lighting design. Lutron has also developed an extensive collection of eco-friendly light controls, systems and window solutions for any project, big or small, and all Lutron products work toward achieving a single, shared goal – reducing energy usage and enhancing the visual environment in every home, building and business. CW: When did you join the firm? Under what circumstances? WP: I joined Lutron in 2003, leading the transformation of the corporate legal function from a limited service organization into a broad, multi-disciplinary group, closely integrated with senior leadership and focused on enhancing the value of the business.
Take care of the customer. Take care of the company. Take care of the people. Innovate with high quality products. Deliver value to the customer.
Our products help businesses, government offices, universities, hotels, schools and homes, in PA and around the world, become better stewards of the environment, save electricity, reduce operating costs and help meet sustainability goals. Lutron seeks to help its customers “create pleasance” that is a residential or commercial space that is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to the people who inhabit it. We seek to help customers enhance their productivity while lowering building operating expense. This means minimizing glare from daylight while providing access to views and providing proper balance of daylight and electric light for any activity. And, Lutron seeks to conveniently eliminate wasted energy use by automatically turning lights off when a space is unoccupied, utilizing daylight to reduce electric light and allowing occupants to dim lights and adjust shades from a wireless control, mobile device, or computer . CW: Are your customers local, regional, national or global? WP: Lutron manufactures more than 16,000 energy saving products for customers in more than 100 countries around the world. Our light controls and shading systems are in every type of space from a single office to an entire corporate campus, restaurants and hotels, schools and universities, and private homes of every size.
CW: Would you invest in PA? WP: Lutron was founded in Emmaus, PA more than 50 years ago. We have been headquartered in PA ever since, and intend to stay in PA, continuing to invest in the local economy and support manufacturing in the state. We appreciate the fact that PA enables Lutron to attract and retain a high-quality, educated workforce – many of whom come to us from the wonderful universities in our home state. We remain committed to creating and retaining jobs in PA, and investing revenue back into the state’s economy. CW: Are there public policy changes your firm is advocating? WP: Local, federal and global policy makers recognize the need for increased energy-efficiency in new construction and renovation, both commercially and residentially. Our products offer successful, cost-effective methods of saving lighting energy in any application, and Lutron continues to invest in research and development to further the cause of sustainable building design and energy conservation. Lutron wallbox controls have already saved more than 7.25 billion KWh of electricity per year in the US, and if each home and business in the US implemented a full range of Lutron conservation strategies, the savings could be greater than 450 Billion KWh per year.
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Corbett administration restricts access to Capitol On Feb. 24, State Capitol Police manned barricades in front of a bank of elevators and restricting access to a set of stairs that lead to Gov. Tom Corbett’s Capitol offices in what an administration spokesman described as a “preemptive” effort to avoid last year’s occupation of a hallway outside the Governor’s Office by activists for the disabled. A spokesperson for the Governor said there have been “incidents in the past,” stating that last year disabled protestors closed the hallway outside the Governor’s office. The new policy will restrict visitors from gaining access to the hallway outside his office suite when major rallies are held at the Capitol, said state Department of General Services spokesman Troy Thompson A statement released by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party summarizes the action as “just the latest example of Gov. Corbett going back on his campaign pledge to increase openness and transparency in state government.” Previously, the “Tom Corbett for Governor Website,” now offline, stated: “Tom Corbett will provide an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that finally puts Pennsylvania taxpayers first and gets the state back on track and moving in the right direction.” However, Democratic party members say it’s not the case now. They point to the following media reports as evidence:
Advocates for the disabled, many of them in wheelchairs - were blocked during their rally in the Capitol over the administration’s budget cuts from going anywhere near Gov. Corbett’s 2nd floor office after a new policy restricting visitors from gaining access to the hallway outside his office suite when major rallies are held at the Capitol was enacted.
“Back in the days of former Gov. Ed Rendell, to reach someone in the DEP, all a reporter needed was a phone number. Since the swearing-in of Gov. Tom Corbett, it’s gotten a whole lot tougher. Two of my sources at the DEP confirmed they were told they are no longer allowed to talk with reporters. Calls to other DEP regulators have been returned by Dan Spadoni, the DEP’s community relations coordinator.” http://www.centredaily.com/ 2011/08/15/2879256/dep-hides-stafffrom-media.html#ixzz1V8NVSJEV
• “DEP hides staff from media” (Centre Daily Times)
• “Corbett to friendly Phila. crowd: ‘Keeping the promises I made’” (Philadelphia Inquirer) “The governor bristled somewhat when asked why he’s rarely seen at Philadelphia venues like Temple University, where administrators have pondered how much they can hike tuition on middle-class students to deal with an expected drop of 25 percent or more in state aid under Corbett. ‘I’ve been down in Philadelphia a lot - you just don’t know about it,’ Corbett said, without elaborating.”
• “State employees advised to keep details off calendars” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) “With several pending court cases over Right-to-Know Law requests, state government employees have been instructed to regularly review the information they keep on their work calendars -- and to clear information after meetings are completed. Openrecords officials say that instruction shouldn’t necessarily been seen as a secretive move, but one they’ll be watching to see if it impinges on public access to government records.” http://www.post-gazette.com/ pg/11152/1150522-454.stm
• “The toughest ticket in Capitol: access to a Corbett press conference” (Philadelphia Inquirer ) “What does a Gov. Corbett press conference have in common with the hottest New York nightclub? You’ve got to have the credentials to get in. In the case of a Corbett event, that means media credentials - or a powerful lawmaker by your side.” http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/ harrisburg_politics/The-toughest-ticketin-the-Capitol-access-to-a-Corbett-pressconference.html?ref=facebook.com
Castille proposes hiking driving fines by $13.50 By Peter L. DeCoursey, Capitolwire
Drivers cited for moving violations don’t pay an extra $13.50 now because former House Speaker Keith McCall defeated that proposal years ago, saying drivers already are hit with unduly high fines. But making drivers with moving violations pay that additional fee – paid for in all other court filings – is being proposed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille. His comments came as he testified March 1 on behalf of the state court system to the Senate Appropriations Committee. He said McCall kept the fee from applying to driving violations when it came to a vote during McCall’s speakership in 2009. If approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, it would provide $14 million per year for court operations, and $1.4 million for Legal Aid Services. The $14 million in new court funding from the proposed fee would help pay for anticipated increases in funding for state and county courts. The $1.4 million in new funding for legal services would not only close a $600,000 funding gap from cuts imposed in the current budget, but also increase the state funding for it.
If imposed on driving violations, the fee, known as the Act 49 would also raise $3.15 million more annually to fund district attorney positions around the state. The fee sunsets in 2014. Court officials said Corbett, a former attorney general, proposed flat funding for legal services in his proposal last year. Then after negotiations with the Legislature, the program was cut $300,000, or 10 percent. Then a mid-year budget freeze took another 10 percent slice from legal services. That meant a 20-percent reduction for this year. And the governor proposed to keep the funding for the program at the $2.46 million level, cut 20 percent from his original 2011 budget proposal. Castille said the current-year reduction is leading to 30 attorneys being laid off from Legal Services, and that makes the legal system less fair and just in the state. He said the courts have tried to supply more legal counsel by raising $1.65 million through a $25 registration fee hike on attorneys. He also said attorneys donated 116,000 hours last year to legal services to poor defendants. A trust fund, IOLTA, that funds legal
aid services to poor defendants, pays for those services with interest earnings. The economic downturn and lower interest rates have reduced that funding from $15 million a year to “$6 million or $7 million a year,” Castille testified. That is why the fee hike on driving violations is sorely needed, he said. Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery, complained about the district justice system, referencing a case when he was charged with disorderly conduct when another motorist said he brandished a gun while driving. He said it cost him $28,000 to defend against the charge, which was found to be worth a trial by the district justice, whom Mensch said favored the police officer who brought the charge. But the county judge threw out the case, saying no crime was committed or listed in the charge, Mensch said. Castille responded that district justices were tested on the law, and that when abuses occurred, the Supreme Court had removed or suspended them. Referring to the $28,000 Mensch said he paid, Castille said many defendants don’t have that sum to pay, and that was another
argument for more aid to legal services. Sen. John Wozniak, D-Johnstown, also chided the justices for ruling in 2007 that judges could keep the 2005 pay raise while lawmakers and statewide elected officials and cabinet members had it taken away by a 2005 law rescinding it. Castille also said the courts are asking for another fee on court filings, which provides $8 for the court per filing and $2 for legal services, on all filings, to be renewed. The legal aid part of that funding stream will expire in October, court officials said. That provides another $8 million that IOLTA uses for legal aid funding, court officials said. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, said he supported renewing the expiring legal services fee and would introduce legislation to have that effect. He said he had to look further at the proposed addition of driving fees to the other court-filing fee. The fee that applies to all filings is called the Act 122 fee. The fee Castille wants to apply to moving violations as well as other court filings, is called the Act 49 fee. CW
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Lawmakers, health advocates call for revival of adultBasic One year after 40,000 Pennsylvanians were booted from their adultBasic health coverage, state Sen. Mike Stack, along with several Senate Democratic colleagues and health advocates, called for reviving the low-cost state-run health plan. “This was a program that allowed working individuals an opportunity to afford health insurance. They just needed a hand up to stay healthy and go to work. Instead, they got a smack down from Governor Corbett,” said Stack (D-Phila.), the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. “One year later, these folks still need assistance.” The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center estimates that only 40 percent of former adultBasic recipients have found other health care coverage. Specifically, during recent budget hearings Pennsylvania Department of Insurance Commissioner Michael F. Consedine noted that only about a third of former adultBasic recipients were enrolled in the alternative health programs Special Care, Medical Assistance, or PA Fair Care.
Sen. Mike Stack calls for the revival of adultBasic, which provided low-cost coverage to 40,000 Pennsylvanians until its demise last year. With him are Amy Reumann, director of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania, Sen. Judy Schwank, Sen. Lisa Boscola and Sen. John Blake.
too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, ended on Feb. 28, 2011 due to a lack of funding.
“It is unbelievable that this administration continues to let decent, hard-working individuals fall through the cracks.” “That means 60 percent of former adultBasic recipients still have no health coverage, and that doesn’t even include the half-million Pennsylvanians who were on the adultBasic waiting list,” Stack said. “It is unbelievable that this administration continues to let decent, hard-working individuals fall through the cracks.” Pennsylvania’s adultBasic program, which provided low-cost health care to working Pennsylvanians who made
Stack called for using tobacco settlement money to fund this program, as it was funded in previous years. State Sen. John Blake, who was the former chairman of the Tobacco Settlement Investment Board, agreed. “These resources could have been available,” said Blake (D-Lackawanna). “The ending of adultBasic does not improve the quality of life of Pennsylvanians and it could have been avoided.”
Stack also recommended pausing the capitol stock and franchise tax phase out for one year to generate $275 million and fund the adultBasic program until the health exchange is implemented under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in January 2014. The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers has reported that calls to its toll-free hotline, which helps connect individuals with health care, increased from an average of 200 calls a month to 900 calls a month since adultBasic ended. “It’s bad enough that these folks are dealing with chronic conditions and medical issues that are beyond their control, but to add the anxiety of losing their health coverage is just cruel,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks). “The
administration may have been trying to save a few dollars but ending adultBasic will be very costly for Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania ranks sixth among states with the highest impact of chronic disease, according to a study released by the Milken Institute. The cost of treating these conditions totaled $13.6 billion in 2003, and the impact of lost workdays and lower employee productivity resulted in an annual economic loss in Pennsylvania of $50.5 billion. Former adultBasic recipient Danielle Gatto of Philadelphia testified via a video interview at the news conference. Gatto, a restaurant manager living with the digestive disorder Crohn’s disease, was denied private health insurance because of her preexisting condition. She relied on adultBasic from 1995 until the program ended last year. With adultBasic coverage, she was able to manage her chronic condition and stay out of the hospital. “AdultBasic was so beneficial because it’s the only plan that would cover the treatment that I need for my Crohn’s disease,” said Gatto. “There’s no other insurance that will take me with that condition. AdultBasic was the only thing that would cover the treatment for me and that treatment is the only thing that keeps me out of the hospital.” Gatto is now enrolled in the alternative Special Care program, which has a monthly premium of $148.70, compared to the $36 adultBasic premium. Her new plan only allows four doctor visits a year. “I can use them up just with my GI, so I have to pick and choose which doctor is more important to see. When I had adultBasic I could see whatever doctor I needed to see,” Gatto said. “If I have to spend a week in the hospital, I can’t work and if I can’t work I can’t pay my rent.” CW
Rep. Josephs urges swift action on Marriage Equality Act State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., says it is time for Pennsylvania to stop being outsmarted and outnumbered by its border and northern states when it comes to marriage equality. Josephs said that with Maryland now joining New York in extending marriage equality to all of its citizens, and New Jersey not far behind, it is time for the House to take up her legislation (H.B. 1835) that would put same-sex relationships on par with heterosexual couples in Pennsylvania by allowing them to marry here, as well as recognize their marriages performed in other states. “Pennsylvania may soon be known as the island of inequality and insufficiency if we don’t start recognizing what other
states are doing to improve the lives of their citizens,” Josephs said. “The time has come for Pennsylvania to join its neighbors and shed itself of the backward and bigoted view that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples. Loving individuals desiring to marry their life’s partner, regardless of their gender, should be celebrated and encouraged, rather than discriminated against.” Maryland became the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed that legislature’s bill into law on March 1. With that inclusion, Josephs said, Maryland will see a boost to its economy, from increased state and local sales tax collections and marriage license fees, to additional hotel occupancy
tax revenue in the state. antiquated approach to a host New York extended marof social issues,” Josephs said. riage to same-sex couples “When a stagnant economy in July. According to the and the Commonwealth’s lack Independent Democratic of willingness to protect and Conference of the New support all of our citizens are York State Senate, the state combined with this year’s devexpects to see as much as astating cuts to Pennsylvania’s $391 million in increased most basic needs, including economic activity in the education, health care and first three years of the law. human services, our reputa“I think that’s a pretty Rep. Babette Josephs tion only worsens. We need enticing figure for any to reverse this sad decline and entrepreneur looking to start a business to work to restore Pennsylvania’s rightful choose Maryland, New York, and even Del- place as a state that is both in time with the aware and New Jersey where civil unions modern world and the current century.” are recognized, over Pennsylvania, espeJosephs’ bill remains stuck in the cially when Pennsylvania also continues its House Judiciary Committee. CW
MARCH 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Department of Corrections is committed to reducing prison population says Wetzel The state Department of Corrections anticipates its inmate population to not only stay stable, it projects that it will decline in the coming years. “The projections, I think starting next year, [are for] the population to flatten out,” said Corrections Department Secretary John Wetzel, during his agency’s budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 27. “We believe with Senate Bill 100 and also some of the areas that we [the department and the Board of Probation and Parole] were able to work on together, we can actually make that slope go down.” For the first time in a decade, state spending for the Department of Corrections has been kept flat, compared to last year’s funding. In Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget, the agency will again receive an annual appropriation of $1.87 billion. The department said it was able to cut more than $100 million in costs during the past year to allow for the flat budget request. And that’s with the return of the more than 2,100 inmates that had been temporarily housed in Michigan and Virginia correctional facilities. The last of the out-of-state inmates will return to Pennsylvania facilities by the end of March, said Wetzel. In February 2010, a total of 1,000 inmates had been sent to Virginia, while another 1,111 inmates were sent to Michigan. The 1,111 Michigan inmates returned to the commonwealth at the end of May last year. When asked by Sen. Robert Mensch, R-Montgomery, how the department
ment, such as improving the parole process and communications between the department and the Board of Probation and Parole, to help speed up the exit of offenders from the prison system. He noted that efforts to improve how technical parole violators are handled, prompted by Act 95 of 2010, have also helped to reduce pressures on prison capacity. He added that the department is moving forward with an effort to improve the timely release – and alleviate crowding issues - of individuals with sentences of less than one year. He said the department intends to dedicate facilities – which he called “short min facilities” for the offenders with short minimum sentences that would be housed in them - and programs for those offenders with sentences of less than one year. Those changes help ensure they “can get released in a timely fashion, if that’s an appropriate decision.” Wetzel said all of these things are about getting “smarter on crime” and “putting a good system in place” that ends up saving the state money while maintaining public safety. “It’s efforts like that, where we’ve identified that historically have been a problem, and we’ve been able to make progress, just by doing a better job of working together and by just kinda rolling up our sleeves and focusing on what we control.” As for things the department doesn’t control, Wetzel, responding to questions by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, said the department is excited
“. . .efforts to improve how technical parole violators are handled, prompted by Act 95 of 2010, have also helped to reduce pressures on prison capacity. . .the department is moving forward with an effort to improve the timely release – and alleviate crowding issues - of individuals with sentences of less than one year.” was able to get those inmates back into Pennsylvania correctional facilities, and still manage to prevent an increase in the state prison population and correction budget, Wetzel said he couldn’t take credit for all of that. “That was the plan when the previous administration sent them out of state … when the parole moratorium was enacted – that really was the seminal event that led to everybody getting sent out of state – there was significant expansion in housing units at a lot of facilities … those housing units got done last year, so we brought them back into that capacity,” said Wetzel. Wetzel also credited a lot of administrative changes made by the depart-
about the prospect of the Legislature approving Senate Bill 100. The legislation, which has already been approved by the Senate and awaits consideration in the state House of Representatives, contains several provisions that address prison overcrowding, recidivism, and seek to reduce the high costs of incarceration. “I think it’s essential,” said Wetzel, who noted it’s an important “piece of the budget” that “probably won’t get us a lot this year, but as we go down the road, the impact will be significant.” One of the components of the bill seeks to improve the use of the state intermediate punishment (SIP) program. Currently, both the prosecutor
and the judge must recommend an offender for the program before the department determines if the offender is suitable for the program. The program is designed to focus on offenders convicted of non-violent, drug-related offenses. The bill would allow a judge, prior to imposing a sentence, the ability to commit an offender with or without the district attorney’s approval to the Department of Corrections for an evaluation to determine whether the offender would benefit from the SIP. Once the evaluation is received, the district attorney may still refuse to approve sending the offender to SIP, but would do so with the benefit of the department’s evaluation. SIP allows an offender to serve a flat sentence of 24 months. At least seven of those months will be served in prison, with four of the seven months served as part of a therapeutic community to address the offender’s addiction issues. A minimum of two months of the offender’s total sentence must be served in a community-based therapeutic community and a minimum of six months must be served in outpatient treatment. Any left-over sentence time would consist of supervised reintegration into the community, which involves corrections staff monitoring the offender’s progress in the community, as well as some additional services or treatment, based upon the offender’s individual needs and progress. Another component seeks to address
the issue of the number of offenders coming to state prison with short minimum sentences. The bill would provide a system allowing the state Department of Corrections to quickly move offenders with short minimum sentences to community corrections centers for community-based treatment. Presently, an inmate must serve at least nine months in a state prison before he could be considered for a community corrections facility. The bill would make an offender, who is otherwise eligible for pre-release to a community facility, eligible if he has continuously served for a total of at least nine months in a county jail or in a state correctional institution for that sentence. If the bill becomes law, this provision would go into effect a year after the bill’s signing date. However, concerns were raised by several Northeastern Pennsylvania region senators about community corrections facilities (CCFs),due mostly to problems at the department’s Hazleton-based community facility. Wetzel said his department has spent a lot of time working to address the Hazleton situation, and avoid similar occurrences in other CCFs. And responding to several questions about possible privatization efforts at the state’s correctional institutions, Wetzel said nothing has been decided. “We are very early on in the process” in reviewing what other states have done, focusing on “if it’s worth exploring” privatization. CW
Allenberry Playhouse 1559 Boiling Springs Road, Boiling Springs | allenberry.com, (800) 430-5468
4/11 to 5/6 | Forever Plaid A heavenly musical with a mix of ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll, show tunes and dance music. The charming story of four young men who meet an early death, but get one last chance to entertain, providing their spirits still live on! Tickets are $39 and $63. 5/9 to 6/24 | Honkey Tonk Angels The story of three women who dream of becoming country music stars and meet on the bus to Nashville. The show features many country music classics, including Stand By Your Man, 9 to 5 and These Boots Are Made For Walking. Tickets are $39 and $63. American Music Theatre 2425 Lincoln Highway East | amtshows.com, (717) 397-7700 3/15, 7 p.m. | Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss You’ve seen him on TV, now come see him in person. Buddy Valastro’s “Bakin’ with the Boss” show is an evening of cakes, stories and fun. In this live, interactive event, TLC’s Cake Boss will share the stories behind his hit series and his colorful Italian family, answer audience questions and give demonstrations of the techniques that have made him one of the most successful and renowned cake artists in the nation. In this all-ages, familyfriendly show, Buddy will even invite a few audience members on stage to join in the fun. Don’t miss this chance to see the Cake Boss, live! Tickets are $49. 3/16, 8 p.m. | Neil Sedaka With a musical career spanning over 50 years, singer/songwriter/pianist Neil Sedaka has enjoyed success with a string of hit songs he’s written for both himself and other artists. This classically trained pianist wrote eight U.S. Top Ten pop hits including Oh! Carol, Calendar Girl and reached the No. 1 position with Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Laughter in the Rain, Bad Blood and the Captain & Tennille recording of Love Will Keep Us Together. Tickets are $67. 3/17, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. | Spring Doo Wop Cavalcade This spring’s all-new oldies show is sure to be a knock-out. We’ve assembled a terrific line-up of some of your favorite oldies groups. Be a part of the mood, the moments, the sights and the sounds of pure oldies with The Flamingos, The Skyliners, Linda Jansen (the original lead singer of The Angels), Johnny Farina of Santo and Johnny, The Eternals, The Devotions and The Knockouts. It’s an evening of musical memories you won’t want to miss. Tickets are $45. 3/18, 3 p.m. | Sandi Patty and Friends Sandi Patty brings her inspirational vocal artistry back to AMT, and no other Christian artist is better suited to sing about life’s journey. Still bursting with creative energy and magnetic talent three-plus decades into her career, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee with 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards and an armload of platinum and gold albums has seen professional peaks and personal valleys alike while in the spotlight, all of them tempered by the grace of God. Tickets are $44. 3/22, 8 p.m. | Travis Tritt Travis Tritt was one of the leading new country singers of the early ’90s and one of the few to dip into bluesy Southern rock. He developed a gutsy, outlaw image that distinguished him from the pack. Tritt has an impressive musical resume that includes a string of platinum albums, 19 songs in the Top Ten, and five No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts. Come out for a night of contemporary country and honky tonk when Travis Tritt rocks the house with Country Club, Help Me Hold On, I’m Gonna Be Somebody and T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Tickets are $67.
3/25, 8 p.m. | Charlie Daniels Band Fiddler extraordinaire, Charlie Daniels, is bringing his rockin’ country band back to AMT. A downhome, good-old-boy attitude, mixed with hard-edged Southern rock boogie and blues, is what sets the Charlie Daniels Band apart. Their instrumental dexterity can be heard in their free-wheeling country tunes and especially in their Grammy-winning hit, The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Make sure you’re in the house when Charlie and the boys bring their rollicking, good-time music to Lancaster and burn up the AMT stage. Tickets are $58. 3/31, 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. | The Oak Ridge Boys One of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry, the four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of country hits, such as Elvira, Dream On, Bobby Sue, Fancy Free, American Made and Thank God for Kids. Throughout their career, The Oak Ridge Boys have received numerous gold and platinum records and continue to thrill audiences with their unique blend of country and gospel music. Tickets are $43. 4/1, 7 p.m. | Three Dog Night Nobody had more radio airplay or sold more records and concert tickets in the ’70s than Three Dog Night. They were responsible for a succession of 21 hit singles, including 11 top tens and 12 consecutive gold albums from 1969 to 1975 – thanks to the slick, sometimes soulful vocal harmonies of founding members Danny Hutton and Cory Wells and an excellent ear for quality material. One became the band’s first top-ten hit in 1969, while Mama Told Me (Not to Come) hit No. 1 a year later. Joy to the World became the group’s biggest hit in 1971, spending six weeks on top of the pop charts and their streak continued with their final No. 1, 1972’s Black and White and their final top-ten, 1974’s The Show Must Go On. Tickets are $52.
4/4, 7:30 p.m. | Disney’s Fantasia Disney shares one of its crown jewels of feature animation in this U.S. premiere showcasing selections from Walt Disney’s original Fantasia and Disney’s Fantasia 2000. The Disney masterpiece will be presented on the big screen in HD featuring live accompaniment by the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. The one-of-a-kind program will include Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 & Symphony No. 5, the never-before-seen Debussy’s Claire de Lune, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite and much more. Tickets are $57 and $80. 4/10, 8 p.m. | Riverdance The Irish dancing phenomenon known as Riverdance makes its way to Lancaster. This amazing theatrical show is, in essence, the story of the Irish culture and of the Irish immigration to America, portrayed through traditional Irish step dancing, music and song. Tickets are $69. 4/13 to 4/15 | Gaither Vocal Band A full evening of entertainment and meaningful music is a rare treat anytime, but when the occasion includes the best-loved voices in gospel music, it’s a must-see celebration! Today, the Gaither Vocal Band roster is comprised of Bill Gaither, Wes Hampton, David Phelps, Michael English and Mark Lowry. Individually, these men are gifted artists and men of authentic faith. Together, they are the incomparable Gaither Vocal Band, known around the world for their powerhouse vocals, innovative harmonies and life-altering message – a message of grace, hope and redemption. Tickets are $55. For times and more information, call (717) 397-7700 or visit amtshows.com.
4/19, 8 p.m. | Josh Turner Deep-voiced Josh Turner burst onto the country music scene a few years ago with the powerful Long Black Train and has since established himself as a country superstar with his No. 1 hits Your Man, Would You Go With Me, Why Don’t We Just Dance and All Over Me. Nominated in the CMA’s Male Vocalist category, Turner has the honor of being the youngest member ever to have been invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Tickets are $67.
5/19, 8 p.m. | Johnny Mathis AMT is excited to welcome back one of the most popular traditional male vocalists of our time – Johnny Mathis. His romantic take on jazz and pop standards can be heard in any number of his hit songs, including Chances Are, It’s Not For Me to Say, The Twelfth of Never, Wonderful, Wonderful, Misty, I’m Coming Home and Too Much, Too Little, Too Late. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear a musical legend when Johnny Mathis returns to AMT. Tickets range from $85 to $115.
4/29, 3 p.m. | Jungle Jack Hanna Animal lovers, get ready! Jungle Jack Hanna is returning to AMT, bringing some of his favorite animal friends with him as well as fascinating and humorous stories and footage from his adventures around the world. Kids from 2 to 92 will be entertained and inspired by Jungle Jack and the antics of his furry friends. Tickets are $29.
5/20, 3 p.m. | Ray Price and Gene Watson Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Ray Price sings honky-tonk, country, pop, blues, jazz and anything in between. His well-known hits include City Lights, Make the World Go Away, For the Good Times and You’re the Best Thing that Ever Happened To Me. Gene Watson built a reputation for soulful ballads in the classic country tradition. Some of his many hits include Love in the Hot Afternoon, Where Love Begins, Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy) and Nothing Sure Looked Good on You. Don’t miss this evening of pure country with two of the industry’s musical legends. Tickets are $42.
5/2 to 6/30 | Country Classics Polish your boots and straighten your Stetson, AMT is goin’ country – classic country, that is. This brand-new AMT Original Show features country music’s very best, as the AMT cast and band perform your all-time favorites and some modern-day classics. Tappin’ into their country roots for the signature sounds of favorites like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and more! Plus, we’ll mix in a few of today’s soon-to-be-classic hits as well. Come experience the joy of pure country music with the all-new Country Classics at American Music Theatre. Tickets are $16, $27 and $32. 5/11, 8 p.m. | Montgomery Gentry With CMA and ACM awards and a Grammy nomination to their credit, Montgomery Gentry is one of country music’s top duos. They have released more than 20 charted singles, with anthems like My Town and Hell Yeah becoming indelible parts of the honky-tonk landscape. They have hit the top of the singles charts five times with If You Ever Stop Loving Me, Something To Be Proud Of, Lucky Man, Back When I Knew It All and Roll With Me. Tickets are $73. 5/12, 8 p.m. The Temptations and the Four Tops Thanks to their fine-tuned choreography and even finer harmonies, The Temptations became one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. During the group’s fivedecade career, these Grammy winners have charted numerous No. 1 hits including My Girl, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, Get Ready, Just My Imagination and Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, among many others. The Four Tops teamed up in high school and spent over four decades without a single personnel change to become one of Motown’s most consistent hit makers. Baby I Need Your Loving, I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), Reach Out (I’ll Be There) and Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got) are just some of their well-known hits. Tickets are $75. 5/17, 8 p.m. Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons One of the most long-lived and successful vocal groups of the 1960s, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons scored a series of smash hit singles and achieved legendary status with induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With his unmistakable falsetto voice, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, are well-known for their easily recognizable hits like Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, Rag Doll and My Eyes Adored You, all of which climbed to the top of the Billboard charts. It may not be December, 1963, but with dozens of hits in their repertoire, O, What a Night this will be. Tickets range from $84 to $114.
5/25, 8 p.m. Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers Actor, playwright, comedian and banjo player extraordinaire Steve Martin has joined forces with The Steep Canyon Rangers to present a Bluegrass concert that’s nothing short of amazing. Their first collaborative record, Rare Bird Alert, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart and was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Come out for an evening of blistering banjo and Bluegrass as AMT welcomes these masterful musicians – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers. Tickets are $79. Carlisle Theatre and Performing Arts Center 44 West High Street, Carlisle carlisletheatre.org, (717) 258-0666 5/11 to 5/13 Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Junior Their annual youth musical returns with Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Junior. Join Alice’s madcap adventures in Wonderland as she chases the White Rabbit, races the Dodo Bird, gets tied up with the Tweedles, raps with a bubble-blowing Caterpillar and beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game. This fast-paced stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland features updated dialogue and new arrangements of such classic Disney songs as I’m Late, The Un-birthday Song and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. 5/19, 11:15 a.m. West Shore Symphony Orchestra Family Concert. 5/20, 3 p.m. | West Shore Symphony Orchestra Subscription Concert. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster dutchapple.com, (717) 898-1900 3/15 to 4/28 | 9 to 5 the Musical Put on your power suit and enjoy a hilarious tale of laughter, friendship and premeditated workplace revenge. It’s hilarious when three unlikely friends conspire to take control of their company and learn there’s nothing they can’t do – even in a man’s world. Based on the hit movie and featuring a score by the legendary songwriter, Dolly Parton. Tickets range from $16 to $54.
arts&entertainment 5/3 to 6/17 | Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun Everyone’s favorite sharp-shootin’ tale of romance and rivalry in the Wild West. See expert rifle-woman Annie Oakley go from backwoods girl to shootin’ star as she falls for her rival, ace marksman Frank Butler. Hear Irving Berlin songs like There’s No Business Like Show Business, Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better and You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun. Tickets range from $16 to $54. Fulton Theatre 12 North Prince Street, Lancaster fultontheatre.org, (717) 397-7425 3/14 to 4/1 | Sunset Boulevard Aging actress Norma Desmond attempts a bold return to the big screen in this grand musical adaptation of the Billy Wilder film. While her glamour has faded, her unfulfilled ambition has not. When she meets a struggling Hollywood screen-writer, Norma seizes the opportunity to restore her long-dormant career to its former glory. Sunset Boulevard features a lush score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a haunting glimpse at the power of self-deception. Tickets range from $20 to $58. 3/17, 3/24 & 31, 11 a.m. | Pinnocchio In a small village the wood-carver Geppetto carves a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a boy. When his dream comes true, he finds that strange things happen to his nose when he lies. In this adaptation, you will meet a very funny vaudeville fox and cat duo and a talking cricket named Hopper, all who lead Pinocchio through an adventure where he learns the importance of telling the truth. Tickets range from $10 to $20. 4/12, 6:45 p.m. | Symphony in a Snap! Introducing a distinctive new Lancaster Symphony concert program for the younger professional that combines networking, light appetizers and beverages, social media and symphonic music. Symphony in a Snap! includes a pre-concert networking reception catered by the award-winning Accomac Inn, a one-hour, smartphone-friendly concert, openseating and much more. Tickets are $25. 4/13 to 4/15 | Classic Concert Series David Ott, 1995 Composer’s Award winner, promises “beautiful melodies, enticing rhythms and wide-ranging emotions. Beauty, joy, dance, orchestral color all in a single package.” Tickets range from $33 to $64. 4/25 to 5/13 | August: Osage County This darkly comic drama explores the unspoken secrets that haunt the Westons, a dysfunctional extended family in rural Oklahoma. Following the disappearance of their alcoholic patriarch, the clan gathers at the farmhouse to rehash family feuds, confront long-suppressed demons and contend with the vitriolic, pill-popping grandmother at the center of the storm. Mature audiences only. Tickets range from $20 to $58. Harrisburg Symphony 800 Corporate Circle, Harrisburg harrisburgsymphony.org, (717) 545-5527 3/17 & 3/18 | Irresistibly Irish Ronan Tynan, a founding member of the famous “Irish Tenors,” has sung for presidents, popes and entertained adoring fans around the world. He brings his powerful voice, rollicking Irish sense of humor and universal message of strength to the HSO. Award-winning dancers from The McGinley School of Irish Dance have performed and competed in the United States and Ireland. They bring their incredible skill plus their appreciation for Irish dancing, culture and heritage to the stage with the Harrisburg Symphony. Don’t miss this incredible Irish experience on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend. Tickets are $48 and $58.
3/20, 7:30 p.m. | Stuart and Friends This annual tradition continues as the Maestro takes to the piano to play with select “friends” from the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. The event will be held at HACC’s Rose Lehrman Arts Center. Tickets are $22. For more information, call (717) 545-5527 or visit harrisburgsymphony.org. 4/1, 2 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. Green Eggs and Ham Family Concert “Sam I Am” comes to Harrisburg Symphony in a skillfully staged and delightfully designed musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic. Michael Boudwyns performs with the HSO led by conductor Tara Simoncic to delight families in this classic story. With music by Robert Kapilow (composer of The Polar Express), Green Eggs and Ham celebrates rhyme and reason and introduces young people to the beauty and versatility of the human voice and the wonders of orchestra. The event will be held at HACC’s Rose Lerman Arts Center. Tickets are $15. 4/14 & 4/15 | The Don’s Deeds Two great 20th century story ballets – Copland’s Billy the Kid and Khachaturian’s Sparticus – will be followed by Strauss’s masterful portrait of the legendary knight-errant, Don Quixote, aptly subtitled Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character. HSO principal cellist Fiona Thompson “portrays” the Don. Tickets range from $38 to $70. 5/19 & 5/20 | Perfect Pictures Maurice Ravel’s spectacular orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition brings the Harrisburg Symphony’s season to a rousing conclusion. The concert opens with Jonathan Leshnoff’s brilliant Starburst and violinist Karen Gomyo returns to perform Shotakovich’s soul-searching violin concerto. Tickets are $38, $64 and $70. Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center – Stage On Herr 268 Herr Street, Harrisburg | stageonherr.net, (717) 412-4342 3/23, 7 p.m. Gennaro Porcelli, Blues Southern Rock Band 3/24, 7 p.m. April Skies, Alternative Indie Pop band 3/30, 7 p.m. Hank & Cupcakes and Friends 4/7, 8 p.m. | Charm City Saints Emerging from the seedy punk rock clubs of Baltimore in 2003, Charm City Saints quickly rose to the top of the Celtic Punk scene with their 2005 debut, Never Go Home Again. In the following years, Charm City Saints made a strong follow up by appearing on the soundtracks for the films The Emerald Diamond and the Troma release Super Tromeette Action Movie Go! Keeping the momentum going, The Saints provided their song Adrift for the opening theme to the show The Vollies. By being featured on the Paddy Rock Vol. 2 Comp. and with the release of the Bars & Scars E.P., the Charm City Saints have maintained their position as CelticPunk Rock heroes. 4/13, 8 p.m. | City Music Project The City Music Project began as a pairing of the prodigious songwriting and lyrical abilities of Fank Cervantes and the rich musical and rhythmic sound-scapes of Adrian Palashevsky, aka goldenSpiral. The project, a well-balanced hybrid of electronic and traditional musical components, is meant to be danced to and experienced live. Comparable to sounds of Thievery Corporation, Gorillaz, Pretty Lights and MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, TCMP’s live performance integrates vocals, instruments and studio/performancebased production hardware and software. 4/14, 8 p.m. | Goat Ropin Bastards, Coal Brick Road and Dick and the Deer Gutters.
CapitalWatch 4/28, 7 p.m. | The Greatest Funeral Ever The Greatest Funeral Ever (TGFE) has become a favorite to the fans of original music in central Pa. Their performances feature energetic, mustdance Latin and R&B-inspired tunes, as well as more contemplative jazz-influenced arrangements. The addition of the doumbek, congas and other exciting percussion create an electrifying live music experience. TGFE is a versatile group as well, supplying the appropriate energy to jazz club venues, outdoor festivals and rock clubs. Hershey Area Playhouse 830 Cherry Drive, Hershey hersheyareaplayhouse.com, (717) 533-8525 4/14 | 13th Annual Cabaret Night Plans are underway for the Hershey Area Playhouse’s 13th Annual Cabaret Night at the beautiful Hershey Country Club. This year, two consummate professionals, Jane Brockman and Stuart Landon, will be headlining the event. These two amazing singers will be joined by other favorite professional and Hershey Area Playhouse performers. This is the annual major fundraiser for Hershey Area Playhouse, and it promises to be an outstanding evening of entertainment. 4/26 to 5/6 | That Champion Season That Championship Season shows us what happens when old teammates reunite and reminisce about the good old days, 25 years later. The powerful story centers on the tragedy of “glory days” as experienced by the players and, most of all, their coach. Tickets are $17 and $20. Hershey Theatre 15 E. Caracas Avenue, Hershey hersheytheatre.com, (717) 534-3405 3/17, 8 p.m. | Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer The world’s most renowned dog behavior specialist, Cesar Millan, is coming to Hershey. Millan will share his secrets about how to transform both dogs and their owners in this unique live event that has wowed audiences across the globe. Fans and dog lovers alike will be inspired by the simplicity of “Cesar’s Way” as he reveals that the secret to happier, healthier relationships between humans and their canine companions starts with transforming ourselves. Fans will learn how to see the world through a dog’s eyes by understanding dog psychology, and how this powerful knowledge can prevent and solve behavioral issues. They’ll also learn how to tap into a dog’s instincts and energy to forever change relationships. Tickets range from $29.75 to $89.75. 3/20 to 3/25 | West Side Story More than fifty years ago one musical changed theater forever. Now it’s back, and mesmerizing audiences once again. From the first note to the final breath, West Side Story soars as the greatest love story of all time. Tony Award-winning librettist Arthur Laurents’ Broadway direction is recreated for the tour by David Saint, the Associate Director on Broadway. West SideStory remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever. The new Broadway cast album of WestSide Story recently won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway’s finest and features such classics of the American musical theatre as “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.” Ticket prices range from $25 to $85. For times and more information, call (717) 534-3405 or visit hersheytheatre.com. 3/29, 3:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. The Fresh Beat Band The Fresh Beat Band, Nickelodeon’s popular preschool music group and stars of the hit TV series of the same name, will hit the road for the first time ever. In each TV episode, preschoolers sing and dance along as they help The Fresh Beat Band solve everyday challenges. Viewers also learn the importance of friendship, working together in a positive way and respecting each other’s differences. Ticket prices range from $26.50 to $119.50.
4/10 to 4/15 | Memphis From the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, comes a hot new Broadway musical that bursts off the stage with explosive dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling tale of fame and forbidden love. Inspired by actual events, Memphis is about a white radio DJ who wants to change the world and a black club singer who is ready for her big break. Come along on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves – filled with laughter, soaring emotion and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll. Memphis is the winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Tickets range from $25 to $80. 4/20, 8 p.m. Hershey Symphony Presents Out of This World For more than four decades, the Hershey Symphony Orchestra has entertained music lovers throughout central Pennsylvania. Comprised of accomplished local musicians, the Hershey Symphony Orchestra is proud to enrich the community with its gift of music. Established in 1969 as a chamber ensemble by a group of musicians at the Hershey Medical Center, the Hershey Symphony has grown to be one of the largest volunteer orchestras in the nation with 80-plus members from throughout central Pennsylvania, ranging in age from senior citizen to teenager. Tickets are $18, $15 for seniors and $10 for students. 4/22, 7:30 p.m. | Joan Rivers Comedic legend Joan Rivers is an internationally renowned comedienne, Emmy-winning television talk show host, Tony-nominated actress, best-selling author, playwright, screenwriter and the list goes on. She is a true pioneer who created her own brand of irreverent, unconventional comedy and forged her remarkable rise to stardom in the entertainment world. Enduring humiliation and deprivation for nearly a decade playing tawdry clubs, Borscht Belt hotels and Greenwich Village cabarets, her career skyrocketed in 1968 when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Within three years she was hosting That Show with Joan Rivers, one of the first syndicated daytime shows. She soon made television history as the first sole guest host of The Tonight Show. Her show The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers helped launch the Fox Network in 1986. In 1989, she returned to daytime television with The Joan Rivers Show, winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host and her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tickets range from $40 to $95. 4/25, 7:30 p.m. | Human Nature Human Nature, Australia’s leading pop vocal group, will bring their first-ever U.S. tour to Hershey Theatre. Their group’s new album, The Motown Record, is a classic yet modern take on the Motown that influenced generations, featuring songs originally made famous by groups like The Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder. Paying tribute to the Motown sound, Human Nature’s distinctive versions of these ever-popular favorites represent everything audiences love about the songs, performed and arranged by four young men who sing and dance their way through the Motown hit list. Tickets are $31.75 and $60.25. 4/26, 3:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.| Imagination Movers Rich, Scott, Dave and Smitty – of the Emmywinning Disney Channel TV series Imagination Movers – will be bringing their high-octane rock concert to Hershey. The Movers combine danceable pop songs with catchy choruses and a knack for inspiring audience participation. Add in a helping of onstage silliness, and it’s a recipe for a live musical event that will engage the littlest of kids along with their older siblings, parents and grandparents. Tickets range from $25.75 to $45.75
arts&entertainment 5/20, 7 p.m. | Apollo Awards Created in 2008, the Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards will be presented for outstanding achievement by local high school students in their musical and play productions. Modeled after The Tony Awards on Broadway and following the example of the Paper Mill Playhouse “Rising Star Awards” in Millburn, N.J., the ceremony will be held at the Hershey Theatre, being produced and presented by the Theatre Education Department. Tickets are $10, $15 and $20. Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg 915 S. York Street, Mechanicsburg ltmonline.net, (717) 766-0535 3/30 to 4/13 | Extremities It’s a warm summer day Marjorie is spending it alone at home. Her door is open, the screen unlatched. Then suddenly a young man enters out of nowhere, bent on rape. A searing look at a violent crime and its unexpected repercussions. Tickets are $14. 5/11 to 5/26 | A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Crafty slave, Pseudolus, wants his freedom. His master, Hero, wants the girl next door. But the girl next door is a courtesan. Will the course of true love run smoothly? Will Pseudolus save the day? Will the Soothsayer find his way home, at last? All these questions and more are hilariously answered in the funniest musical ever! Tickets are $20. Luhrs Center 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg University luhrscenter.com, (717) 477-7469 3/15, 8 p.m. | Capitol Steps The uproarious political satire of the Capitol Steps is returning to the Luhrs Center. Over 25 years ago, the Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored conventional wisdom (“Don’t quit your day job!”). Although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, the group has worked in a total of 18 Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. Tickets range from $20 to $35. 3/17, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. | Seussical Dr. Seuss’s best-loved stories collide and cavort in this unforgettable musical caper. Adapted from the Broadway version, this adaptation is designed especially for younger audiences. Kids will love seeing The Cat in the Hat as host and emcee in this romp through the Seuss classics. When the sweet, good-natured elephant, Horton, hears a small cry for help coming from a small speck of dust, he promises to rescue and guard it because “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” Meanwhile, the one-feathered bird, Miss Gertrude McFuzz, desperately wants Horton to notice her. Maybe, she thinks, she just needs a more impressive tail. At the same time, the amazingly lazy Mayzie La Bird convinces Horton to sit on her egg while she goes off on a spree. Tickets are $15. 3/23, 8 p.m. | Texas Tenors The Texas Tenors are a “made in America” success story. These three friends – Marcus Collins, JC Fisher, and John Hagen – were once struggling to pay the bills. On a whim, after having performed together only a couple of times, the trio decided to audition in Houston, Texas, for America’s Got Talent, a televised talent show in front of three judges and 100 million viewers. The three friends won the hearts of millions of fans, which landed them into the finals, making them the highest ranking vocal group in the history of the show. Tickets range from $28 to $44. 4/1, 3 p.m. Shippensburg University Spring Concert The Shippensburg University Concert Band is dedicated to expanding the musical horizons of its members through performance of exemplary traditional and contemporary wind band literature. They frequently represent the University with performances on campus and during extensive concert tours each spring. This event is free at attend.
4/3, 7:30 p.m. | J.R. Martinez J.R. Martinez’s life permanently changed in April 2003. It was only a month into his deployment to Iraq in the United States Army, when the left front tire of the Humvee that he was driving hit a land-mine. Martinez was trapped inside the burning vehicle and suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. J.R. spent 34 months in recovery and underwent 33 different surgeries including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. During his time in recovery, Martinez spoke to another burn victim, giving them strength and courage, which allowed Martinez to see the impact that he could have on other patients. He decided that day to use his experience to help others. Tickets are $20. 4/4, 8 p.m. | Lord of the Dance Lord of the Dance is a mesmerizing blend of traditional and modern Celtic music and dance. The story is based upon mythical Irish folklore as Don Dorcha, Lord of Darkness, challenges the ethereal Lord of Light, the Lord of the Dance. Battle lines are drawn, passions ignite and a love story fueled by the dramatic leaps and turns of dancers’ bodies begins to build against a backdrop of Celtic rhythm. The action is played out over 21 scenes on a grand scale of precision dancing, dramatic music, colorful costumes and state-of-the-art staging and lighting. Tickets are $35, $43 and $47. 4/13, 8 p.m. | Big Bad Voodoo Daddy The wildly popular swing band in the classic 40’s-era suits and fedoras is returning to the Luhrs Center. Since their arrival on the music scene in 1993, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s irresistible live show and aggressive, musically perceptive approach, has proven them over time to be the singular standout among the numerous bands that launched the Nineties swing revival. The seven-man group forged a successful fusion of classic American sounds from jazz, swing, Dixieland and big-band music, building their own songbook of original dance tunes and generating new fans by the roomful every time they play. Tickets range from $25 to $39. 4/15, 3 p.m. | The Four Freshmen The Four Freshmen were one of the top vocal groups of the 1950s and formed the bridge between ’40s ensembles like Mel-Tones and harmony-based rock & roll bands such as The Beach Boys and the Manhattan Transfer. Founded by brothers Ross and Don Barbour in 1948 as freshmen at Butler University, the other two original members included their cousin Bob Flanigan and Hal Kratzsch. Now in their 64th year of performance, The Four Freshmen continue to bring their unique brand of vocal harmony to audiences worldwide. The band is a multiple Grammy-nominated quartet known for blending open-harmony jazz arrangements with big band vocal sounds, founded in the barbershop tradition. Although the group has seen lineup changes through the years, the band continues strong, performing for audiences internationally. Tickets are $20, $25 and $29. 4/17, 8 p.m. | Merle Haggard Only a tiny group of country music immortals can step forward to share the spotlight when it comes to being credited for whom has forged the genre that is known today as modern country music. And one out of that select handful, would be Merle Haggard. In the ever-expanding array of country music stars, hitmakers and idols, Haggard walks in no man’s shadow. Instead, he casts a far-reaching shadow of his own. In listening to his uncanny craftsmanship, one quickly recognizes that this is a consummate troubadour who could have carved his niche as either a songwriter, a musician or a singer, so gifted was he in all those areas. Instead, he chose to expand and hone his talents in many dimensions simultaneously, developing his name as the quintessential country artiste, rural America’s Renaissance man, whose caliber will long provide a standard for all country artists who follow. Tickets range from $42 to $57.
CapitalWatch 4/21, 8 p.m. | Collin Mocherie and Brad Sherwood “The Two-Man Group Tour” Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, stars of the Emmy-nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy. Using their quick wit, Colin and Brad take contributions from the audience to create hilarious and original scenes. Throughout the evening, the show becomes truly interactive as audience members are called to the stage to participate in the fun. Their high-profile presentations have played to sold-out venues all over the country. Don’t miss the most exciting comedy event of the year. Tickets range from $29 to $45. 4/22, 3 p.m. Shippensburg University Spring Concert The Shippensburg University Community Orchestra will be joined by soprano Elizabeth Shoenfelt to perform favorite overtures, arias, and themes from Mozart to Puccini to Bernstein and John Williams. Come and enjoy glorious soaring melodies and the wonderful sound of a live symphony orchestra performing music that always has a story. This event is free to attend. 5/9, 8 p.m. | Engelbert Humperdinck His name comes from the 19th century Austrian composer who wrote Hansel & Gretel, and his voice comes from heaven. He’s recorded everything from the most romantic ballads to the theme song from the Beavis and Butthead movie. His remarkable voice and extraordinary talent has endeared him to millions of fans around the globe, with younger generations also discovering what a magnificent musician the rest of the world has been celebrating for decades. The Majestic Theater 25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg gettysburgmajestic.org, (717) 337-8200 3/24, 3 p.m. | Mark Nizer: New 3-D Show Using comedy, 3-D lasers, special effects and even toilet paper, juggler Mark Nizer is one of the greatest family entertainers performing today. His wild exploits have landed him on MTV and HBO, and he has opened for Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope, George Burns, Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles and Barry Manilow. Tickets are $10 and $15. 4/18, 7:30 p.m. | MOMIX Known internationally for presenting works of exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty, MOMIX is a company of dancer-illusionists led by Moses Pendleton, one of America’s most innovative and widely acclaimed choreographers and directors. MOMIX has a magical ability to conjure up a world of surrealistic images using props, light, shadow, humor and the human body. This performance is a compilation of the company’s most popular works. Tickets are $40, $43 and $46. 4/21, 8 p.m. | Capitol Steps No matter where your political loyalties lie, you’ll find plenty to laugh about when the Capitol Steps return to the Majestic with an all-new show. These current and former Congressional staffers are the nation’s premiere musical political satire troupe who are never, thanks to our elected officials, at a loss for material. Tickets are $35, $37 and $40. This fundraising event will be presented by the Gettysburg Rotary Club. 5/8, 8 p.m. | The Alabama Symphony Come share a historic moment with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra on their way to their Carnegie Hall debut. They will be performing the New York premiere of pieces commissioned from Paul Lansky and Avner Dorman (pictured left) as well as the orchestra’s spirited interpretation of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Dorman, a professor at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College, has quickly risen to become one of today’s most successful and renowned composers. Conductor Justin Brown has, in his four seasons with the Alabama Symphony, won recognition for the ASO across the country, in particular as a vibrant destination for contemporary music, for which it received a first-place ASCAP award in 2010 and ASCAP’s “strongest commitment” award for adventurous programming in 2011. Tickets are $25 and $5 for students.
5/11, 8 p.m. | John Tesh John Tesh and his big band of 14 performers are swingin’ into town for one night only. John will play all your favorite big band classics, as well as his renowned piano solos and love songs. Tickets are $60, $64 and $67. Oyster Mill Playhouse 1001 Oyster Mill Road, Camp Hill oystermill.com, (717) 737-6768 3/16 to 4/1 | Out of Order In this uproariously funny and energetic comedy by Ray Cooney, Richard Willey, a Republican Senator, plans to spend the evening with Jane, a secretary to a member of the Democratic party, but things go disastrously wrong – beginning with the discovery of a “body” trapped in the hotel’s only unreliable window. Desperately trying to get out of a potentially headline-making situation, Richard calls for his administrative assistant, George. However, with a conniving waiter, a suspicious hotel manager, an alert private detective, an angry wife, a furious husband, a bungling secretary, an unconscious nurse and a dead body to deal with, this is not the romantic evening Richard had planned. This show is recommended for adult audiences. Tickets are $14. 5/4 to 5/20 | The Goodbye Girl In this charming Neil Simon musical (with music and lyrics by Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippel), egotistical actor Elliot Garfield sublets a friend’s Manhattan apartment only to discover it is still occupied by his friend’s ex-girlfriend Paula, a former dancer, and her precocious pre-teen daughter Lucy. Initially suspicious and antagonistic, Elliot and Paula arrive at an uneasy truce. While attempting to cohabitate as peacefully as possible, despite their differences of opinion and temperament, Elliot and Paula find themselves attracted to each other. Although Elliot finds a job out-of-town, Paula realizes that this is the true love she has been seeking, and they reach a happy ending. Tickets are $20. The Pullo Center at Penn State York 1031 Edgecomb Avenue, York pullocenter.yk.psu.edu, (717) 505-8900 3/14, 7:30 p.m. | Capitol Steps Thirty years ago, the Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom (“Don’t quit your day job!”), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of 18 Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. Tickets are $36 and $47. 3/30, 7:30 p.m. Sandy Hatchett’s Rat Pack Show Celebrating 50 years of The Rat Pack, Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show has been hailed as the next best thing to seeing the Rat Pack themselves. They were style with substance, swing with swagger and a nonstop party that everyone wanted access to. Now audiences can experience the most authentic Rat Pack Show in the world with exciting brand new arrangements of the classic songs everyone knows and loves. In addition, audiences will hear original, never-before-heard songs written by the late, legendary songwriter, Ron Miller and recorded voice-overs made exclusively for this show by Sandy’s father, the late legendary comedian Buddy Hackett. Tickets are $35 and $47.
arts&entertainment 4/4, 10 a.m. | Sleeping Beauty Loosely based on the beloved classic, this adaptation will have you spinning with laughter. Join the bumbling and fumbling narrator-turnedprince as he tries his best to rise to heroic heights to save the princess and the sleeping village caught in the spell cast by Fairy Sour Puss. Modern-word play and audience participation make this story a sure hit with the entire kingdom. The performance is recommended for pre-k through second grade, although all ages are certainly welcome. This performance is free to the public, not ticketed, but reservations are required. Please call (717) 505-8900 to reserve your spot for the show, or you may email alp20@ psu.edu. Please RSVP no later than March 28th. 4/5, 7:30 p.m. | Blue October Since 1995, Blue October has been a refuge for its members and fans worldwide. Over the course of five albums, achieving platinum sales with singles like Hate Me and Into The Ocean along with nonstop touring solidified the bands presence in the music world. They’ve had high-profile film and TV placements on The Sopranos, Saw III and NCIS – to name a few. Plus, they’ve played to fans in nearly every corner of the world. However, it all simply set the stage for their newly released album, Any Man in America. Tickets are $35 and $50. 4/14, 7:30 p.m. | Theresa Caputo Theresa Caputo has been a practicing medium for 10 years and is a certified medium with the Forever-Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to connecting science with the afterlife. Theresa describes the process of receiving information as “feeling” spirits. She sees shadows and hears voices, but the overwhelming process is the sensory feeling and presence of those wishing to get messages across. Those who have witnessed her readings will attest to her “rapid-fire” style and the abundance of significant evidence and messages. In seven short years of practicing medium-ship professionally, Theresa has earned an extensive following in the New York area. With a two-year waiting list, Theresa’s clients are holding on to every glimpse of hope for a cancellation just so she can read them sooner. She is so undeniably good at her craft that skeptics become believers and believers are in total disbelief. Tickets are $48 and $70. 4/21, 7:30 p.m. | Earl David Reed Reed’s dynamic presence, hard-driving wit and improvisational style delivers “an energycharged” performance that leaves comedy audiences wanting more. With appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and HBO, comedian Earl David Reed has been in the spotlight throughout his comedy career. Earl has flexed his “funnies” on stages all across America and is a favorite in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He has also been seen on The Aresino Hall Show, NBC Friday Night Videos, Showtime at the Apollo, Comedy Central and is a two-time Star Search winner. Tickets are $26.50. Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center 50 N. George Street, York strandcapitol.org, (717) 846-1111 3/23, 8 p.m. | An Evening with Tom Rush This legendary folk and blues singer is credited by Rolling Stone magazine with ushering in the era of the singer/songwriter. His distinctive guitar style, humor and expressive voice have made him a music icon, using a combination of terrific storytelling, ballads and gritty blues. In addition to performing his own compositions, he has covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Murray McLauchlan, David Wiffen and William Hawkins, helping them to gain recognition early in their careers. Tickets are $26. 3/29, 7:30 p.m.| Chris Botti Back by popular demand after his sellout in 2006, the talented trumpeter returns to the Strand. Since the release of his 2004 critically acclaimed CD When I Fall In Love, Botti has become the largest-selling
American jazz instrumental artist. His success has crossed over to audiences usually reserved for pop music and his ongoing association with PBS has led to four No. 1 jazz albums, as well as multiple gold, platinum and Grammy Awards. Over the past three decades, he has recorded and performed with the best in music, including Frank Sinatra, Sting, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Andrea Bocelli, Joshua Bell and Steven Tyler. Tickets are $47, $52 and $56. 3/30, 5:45 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | Brett Butler Well-known for her ABC-TV series, Grace Under Fire, in which she starred and served as executive producer, Brett Butler has been making audiences laugh for more than 18 years. In addition to her work on TV, which earned her a People’s Choice Award, she is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller Knee Deep in Paradise. Tickets are $24, $26 and $28. 3/31, 8 p.m. | Carbon Leaf Hailing from Virginia, the same fertile musical landscape as the likes of Dave Matthews, Bruce Hornsby and Jason Mraz, Carbon Leaf’s sound reflects these contrasting influences. The band’s unique blend of folk-rock, Americana, Celtic, alt country, bluegrass, rock and pop lends itself to a variety of genres. The natural diversities mix magically together, conjuring up an aura of warmth, with music punctuated by assorted instruments including mandolin, upright bass, violin, lap steel, keyboard, banjo and acoustic and electric guitars. Tickets are $18. 4/1, 12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m. | Glenn Miller Orchestra Wonder why this is the most popular and sought after Big Band in the world today? Here are just a few reasons: A String of Pearls, Pennsylvania 6-5000, Moonlight Serenade, Tuxedo Junction, Chattanooga Choo Choo and In the Mood. The legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra brings its matchless string of hit records to the Strand. Still wowing fans of the Big Band sound, the 17-piece ensemble faithfully re-creates the bandleader’s vintage World War II hits and performs other material in the Miller band’s instrumentation and style. Tickets are $21, $28 and $31. 4/7, 3 p.m. | Moscow Festival Ballet Under the artistic direction of legendary former Bolshoi dancer Sergei Radchenko, the Moscow Festival Ballet performs Prokofiev’s masterpiece, Cinderella. An enchanting fairy tale of everlasting love, this beloved classic rags-toriches story is brimming with lyrical romance and dramatic grandeur. With a company of 50 dancers, including a large corps de ballet, the MFB is focused on upholding the grand tradition of major Russian ballet works. Tickets are $26, $33 and $39. 4/14, 7:30 p.m. | Kathleen Madigan With her new Showtime special, Gone Madigan, in constant rotation and its DVD-CD topping the Amazon and iTunes charts, this brilliantly funny comic has never been hotter. An audience favorite when she appeared at the Strand in 2010, Madigan is a special correspondent for The Dr. Phil Show and recently completed writing, producing and performing on The Root of All Evil for Comedy Central and Lewis Black (who calls Madigan “the funniest woman in America.”) Madigan was the only comedian ever to go unchallenged on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and beat Larry the Cable Guy and other notable comics to win the SIRIUS Radio Comedy Cup. Tickets are $31, $34 and $39. 4/15, 7:30 p.m. | One Night of Queen Spectacular staging, lighting and effects add to the excitement of rousing renditions of Radio Ga Ga, Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions and Somebody to Love. One of the hottest rock shows, Gary Mullen and The Works return to the Strand having toured sold-out concerts across the globe. Tickets are $30, $37 and $41. 4/17, 7:30 p.m. | David Sedaris The Chicago Tribune proclaims, “Sedaris’s droll assessment of the mundane and the eccentrics
CapitalWatch who inhabit the world’s crevices make him one of the greatest humorists writing today.” With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. Tickets are $30, $35 and $40. 4/22, 3 p.m. | York Junior Symphony Orchestra Under the direction of Kathleen Yeater and assistant director Justin Newberger, this awardwinning orchestra is comprised of youths in grades 5 though 8 and features full string, woodwind, brass and percussion sections. Tickets are $8 and $13. 4/27, 7:30 p.m. | American Stars Concert: Motown Four of your favorite former American Idols, Season 8’s country singer Michael Sarver, Season 6’s soulful rocker Gina Glocksen, Season 7’s big-voiced David Hernandez and Season 6’s show-stopping powerhouse Lakisha Jones, will take to the stage celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Motown’s Hit Factory. Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five are just a few of the stars who will be honored. Relive your favorite Idol moments as these talented young artists also perform the songs that catapulted them into national stardom as well as new selections from their current CDs. Tickets are $27, $36 and $39. 5/4, 7:30 p.m. | David Bromberg If you have never attended a David Bromberg concert, you are in for an unforgettable experience. The guitar virtuoso, bandleader and former session man and his band of masterful musicians will enthrall you with an eclectic mix of blues, country, jazz and folk that is impossible to classify. On his latest album, Use Me, the Grammy-nominated performer taps friends such as Linda Ronstadt, Vince Gill, Dr. John, Levon Helm, Keb’ Mo’, Los Lobos, John Hiatt and Widespread Panic. Tickets are $31, $36 and $41. 5/5, 8 p.m. | An Old Flame Revisit the golden era of swing with Benny Goodman classics like Sing Sing, Sing, Body and Soul and Moonglowand Stompin at the Savoy. You will be transported back to a bygone era enhanced by Bennett’s improvisational riffs and stylings. Tickets range from $25 to $65. 5/8, 5:45 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | South Pacific NETworks Presentations debuts a breathtaking new production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, based on the 2008 Tony Award-winning Lincoln Center Theater production, directed by Bartlett Sher. Set on a tropical island during World War II, the musical tells the sweeping romantic story of two couples and how their happiness is threatened by the realities of war and by their own prejudices. Tickets are $42, $57 and $68. 5/20, 6 p.m. | Rosies Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime event packed with local entertainment celebrating the theatrical talent of York County high schools. The amazing dance finale featuring students from each school will have you cheering on your feet. The Rosies has become the must-see theatrical event of the season and is certain to be sold-out, so be sure to get your tickets early. Tickets are $20. Theatre Harrisburg 513 Hurlock Street, Harrisburg theatreharrisburg.com, (717) 232-5501 3/23 to 4/1 | Dial M for Murder This popular thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to surprising, suspenseful finish. Blackmail, murder and mystery have never been so entertaining. For more information and ticket prices, call (717) 232-5912 or visit theatreharrisburg.com. The performance will be held at The Krevsky Center.
The Whitaker Center 222 Market Street, Harrisburg whitakercenter.org, (717) 214-ARTS 3/24, 7:30 p.m. An Evening with George Winston Inspired by blues, rock, R&B and jazz, George Winston began playing the organ and electric piano in 1967. Since the ‘80s, Winston has released a multitude of piano albums including, Autumn and the platinum selling Winter Into Spring and December. Winston’s latest solo piano release is Love Will Come - The Music of Vince Guaradli, Vol. 2, featuring compositions by the late jazz pianist, including pieces from the Peanuts TV specials. Tickets are $35 and $39.50. 4/21 to 4/22 | Giselle The most celebrated ballet of all time, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet unveils Alan Hineline’s dramatic staging of a tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness in the story of Giselle. Tickets from $14 to $38. 4/22, 4 p.m. | An Afternoon with Garrison Keillor Best-selling author and host of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac, Garrison Keillor has entertained listeners and readers for more than 30 years. Keillor has received a multitude of honors, including a Grammy Award, two Cable ACE Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award and the National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. 5/5, 7:30 p.m. | Jason Bishop As America’s hottest illusionist, Jason Bishop might have a person passing through his body one moment or make goldfish appear from nowhere the next. Bishop is an international award-winning illusionist who was the youngest person to win the Magician’s Alliance of Eastern States Stage Award and one of the youngest people to compete in the Society of American Magicians World-Class competition. Tickets are $22 and $28.50. 5/17, 7:30 p.m. | Nitty Gritty Dirt Band The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music, continues to add to their legendary status. With multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top-10 hits including, Fishin’ In The Dark and Mr. Bojangles, multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations – the band’s accolades continue to accumulate. Their groundbreaking album, Will The Circle Be Unbroken has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. Tickets are $35.50 and $45. York Little Theatre 27 S. Belmont Street, York | ylt.org, (717) 854-5715 3/15 to 3/25 | Red vs. The Wolf It’s the smack-down heard throughout the woods. The kind, sensitive wolf is upset, as he has been maligned for generations because everyone has only heard Little Red’s version of their story. The classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood gets a fresh twist as we hear what really happened in the woods, from the Big Bad Wolf’s perspective. A wildly funny children’s play written by local playwright Judy Wolfman, which illustrates the principle that there can be two sides to every story. Tickets are $10. 4/13 to 4/20 | Xanadu The award-winning Broadway musical romantic comedy adventure on roller skates. It follows the journey of the magical and beautiful Greek muse Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980 on a quest to inspire Sonny, a struggling artist, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time – the first roller disco. Tickets range from $10 to $23. 5/11 to 5/20 | Steel Magnolias Broadway’s slice-of-life comedy drama may be the funniest story ever to make you cry. It explores the secrets, joys, sorrows, fears and loves of a group of southern women who exchange gossip in their local beauty parlor. The women, fragile as magnolia blossoms, are tough as steel as they share life’s moments, from the euphoric to the tragic, all with beautifully coiffed hair. Tickets range from $10 to $23.
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Businesses worry about talks of re-classifying ‘Roll-Your-Own’ tobacco shops By Kevin Zwick, Capitolwire
As the Corbett administration considers re-classifying retail stores that use “Roll-Your-Own” cigarette machines as “cigarette manufacturers,” some fear the move could shut down a number of small businesses in the state. “We have 70 employees who, if they didn’t have these jobs, would probably be on welfare,” said Craig Kelley, owner of several Tightwad Tobacco shops located in the state’s northwest region. Bryon Haynes, an attorney representing RYO Machine LLC, the company that manufactures the rolling machines, said classifying certain retail tobacco shops, which allow customers to use RYO machines, as “cigarette manufacturers” will effectively shut down those small businesses. “The bottom line is if you pass legislation or do it administratively, it is impractical and impossible for RYO retail shops to comply,” he said. Haynes said to have a cigarette manufacturing license in the state, a company needs to have a federal license. But because of a federal injunction, federal permits for “cigarette manufacturing” are not issued, he said. He also said most RYO shops are located in retail areas, like strip malls, which might not be zoned for manufac-
turing. “These machines will be shutdown, and no tax revenue will be collected, and people will be put out of work,” Haynes said. The state has 109 stores that have RYO machines, he said. Customers rent the use of a cigarette-rolling machine after they purchase loose-leaf tobacco and paper tubes from the retail store. The customer would weigh out the proper amount of tobacco, place it in a hopper in the machine, which is about the size of an ATM machine, and place the paper tubes in another compartment. The customer then punches in a few things on the keypad, and waits as the machine fills the tubes with the tobacco. After about eight minutes, the machine will produce about a carton’s worth of cigarettes at about half the price of a manufactured carton of cigarettes. The customers pay the 6 percent sales tax on the tobacco and a federal tobacco tax. They also pay the 6 percent state tax on paper tubes, and for the rental of the RYO machine. “So when people start making claims like we’re missing out on tax revenue that’s misleading,” Haynes said. “The reality is there will be no machines left” if the re-classification occurs.
Rep. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe, brought up the issue of store employees operating machines for their customers during a recent House Appropriations hearing. Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, asked Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser whether the administration is looking at the difference between employees operating the machines and customers renting and operating the machines themselves. “The governor has been consulted on it, and it’s something that no decision has been made at this time,” Meuser told the committee. “Just continuing to do some fact-finding.” Kelley said the employee involvement with the process at his store related to servicing the machine, and assisting customers under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Haynes said stores that take orders
and run the machines for their customers should be prosecuted and fined. But most shops are run people that “are the epitome of the small, family-owned business,” he said. “They’re not well-heeled big tobacco,” he said. “All they want to do is make a living and provide jobs for their workers and big tobacco is trying to put them out of business.” Kelley said he would lose everything if the Corbett administration or legislative action re-classified his stores as cigarette manufacturers. “We would essentially be out of business overnight,” he said. Kelley, who opened the shops with his brother, did so with the support of a Small Business Administration loan. If they defaulted because they were no longer able to comply with the re-classification, he and his brother would lose their homes and personal assets, he said. He said his business caters to lowand middle-income individuals who can’t afford to pay the price of manufactured cigarettes, which could cost upwards of $75 per carton of 200 cigarettes. “They’re nice people. They’ve not rich, they struggle, and we provide a service,” he said. CW
c e n t r a L P e n n S y LVa n I a y O u t H B a L L e t P r e S e n t S
Giselle “A classic the world over.” The Wall Street Journal
“The classic of all ballet classics.” The New York Times
Saturday, aPrIL 21 | 1PM & 7PM Sunday, aPrIL 22 | 2PM
Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s production of the internationally renowned ballet Giselle comes to the Whitaker Center stage! Giselle marks Alan Hineline’s world premiere staging of desire, deception, betrayal and forgiveness from beyond the grave in the story of a young peasant girl cruelly betrayed by a prince disguised as a commoner. Live music by the Central Pennsylvania Symphony.
Photo © billsimonephotography.com
tIcketS: 717.214.artS (2787)
Three Performances Only!
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Privatizing state liquor stores a bad deal for Pennsylvania, new study confirms Legislative efforts to privatize Pennsylvania’s wine and spirits stores have lost momentum in the General Assembly, leading the governor and Senate Appropriations Committee chairman to refocus their attention on modifying the existing system. A new study by the Keystone Research Center (KRC) indicates that this change in direction makes sense from a state budget perspective. The KRC study finds that privatizing state stores would not benefit the commonwealth financially, especially in the long run. Privatization would generate a small upfront fee from companies that buy the right to sell wine and spirits but cost the state millions in lost annual revenue from state store operations. Sensible modernization of the state’s wine and spirits stores makes it even more likely that privatization would hurt the state budget. “When pushing privatization, the Corbett administration wanted to have its cake and eat it too,” said Roland Zullo, a University of Michigan privatization expert and the author of the new KRC report. “But it’s not possible to achieve a large upfront payout from selling state stores without costing the state substantial annual revenue available now for education and healthy communities. That’s a bad deal for taxpayers.” Zullo’s report, Beware the Free Lunch, analyzes a report on privatization that was commissioned by the Corbett administration, conducted by Public Finance Management (PFM), and released publicly last October. The consulting firm was tasked by the state with making the financial case for privatization. Zullo presented a preliminary analysis of the PFM study in testimony before the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee in December. His comprehensive new report finds that the PFM study had significant flaws:
•In the first year of its projections, PFM’s estimate of the income the current wine and spirits system would generate for the state was off by more than 50 percent. Actual revenues for this first year are now available and show that the public system generated $104 million in 2010-11, 54 percent more than the $67 million projected by PFM. •The privatization scenario recommended by PFM would have resulted in an estimated $113 million less in revenue for the commonwealth in FY 2010-11 than the current state system actually delivered. •Based on West Virginia’s experience in a 2010 auction of liquor licenses, Zullo estimated that Pennsylvania would have received 41 percent less than PFM projected from privatizing retail stores — $428 million as opposed to $772 million (the average of three projections made by PFM). Zullo adjusted the West Virginia experience based on differences in consumption and population between the two states. Surprisingly, PFM made no use of West Virginia’s 2010 auction.
Zullo also notes that PFM’s comparisons stack the deck against the public system by failing to consider changes that would benefit consumers and generate more state revenue. Joe Conti, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, estimated that adopting a series of improvements to the public system would generate an additional $71 million annually. Zullo recommended many of these improvements in the last section of his report. Underlying the flaws in the PFM study is the difficulty of the assignment it received from the Corbett administration. PFM was tasked with maximizing the upfront sale value of liquor distribution franchises while assuring that the state achieve “revenue neutrality” — that is, collect the same amount of money each year from the wine and spirits industry (e.g., through taxes, annual license fees, or transfers to the General Fund). To achieve revenue neutrality, PFM built into its recommended model annual retail and wholesale license fees that are at least four times higher than neighboring states; and per gallon taxes six to 21 times
those of neighboring states on wine and up to five times higher on spirits. High taxes and annual fees, however, will drive up prices, reducing sales and profits and leading more Pennsylvania customers to shop in neighboring states. Lower sales and profits will also make businesses unwilling to pay high upfront fees for licenses to distribute wine and spirits. To achieve decent estimated profits from its models despite high taxes and fees, PFM assumed implausibly low operating costs. It justified these assumptions using confidential data that cannot be scrutinized. Zullo shows that PFM’s assumptions are at odds with published data. The PFM study was likely on target when it indicated that rural consumers would see higher prices, less product choice, and less access to wine and spirits as a result of privatization. This is partly because of a proposed shift to taxing wine and spirits based on volume rather than price. This shift hits lower-cost products sold in rural areas hard: for example, a customer would pay twice as much tax on a two-liter bottle of wine that costs $7.50 as on a $15 one-liter bottle of premium wine. Today consumers pay half as much tax on the cheaper but larger bottle of wine. While the PFM privatization scenarios are no longer the focus of legislative discussion, it is important to understand the flaws in the PFM study because they drive home a more general point: privatizing state and local assets, including wine and spirits stores, is often a bad deal for taxpayers. In many cases, upfront revenues from the asset sale are more than offset by reduced annual revenues. Legislators are right to scrutinize proposed privatization deals with great care. The Keystone Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that promotes a more prosperous and equitable Pennsylvania economy. CW
Schools under state scrutiny to stop cheating Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said 17 school districts and four charter schools are under state scrutiny after evidence turned up
were under varying degrees of scrutiny. In some schools, Tomalis told the House Appropriations Committee, only a few teachers were not allowed to proctor
“They have not been sent a letter saying they have been cleared.” indicating potential cheating on state assessment tests. He said 51 Philadelphia schools, 16 other districts and the four charters
their own class during state assessment tests. In others, outside proctors were used for entire grades or schools, Tomalis said.
In these cases, that mandate followed finding erasures on tests and other signs of potential widespread cheating in a class or school, Tomalis said. Since the state puts a major emphasis on those results, stopping cheating where detected is vital, Tomalis and Rep. Mike O’Brien, D-Philadelphia agreed. O’Brien raised the issue during the hearing, and said principals told him the monitoring would be district-wide. Tomalis said it would be limited to the 51 schools and potentially any others if review of tests aroused suspicions. The Philadelphia
School District has 291 schools. O’Brien also asked if the Chester Community Charter School, located in the Chester-Upland School District and one of the largest such institutions in the state- with 2,700 students- had been “cleared” by the department of cheating on state assessment tests? Tomalis responded about the charter school: “They have not been sent a letter saying they have been cleared.” He added: “We will be monitoring” that institution during the upcoming PSSA tests. CW
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Mangia Qui: Bon Apetite! By Markeshia Wolfe
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Mangia Qui and Suba are a quaint and comfortable Italian restaurant and Spanish tapas bar conveniently located in downtown Harrisburg. The Italian restaurant, whose name when translated means “eat here,” was founded by Staci Basore, Rose Marie, “Qui Qui” Musarra, and Elide Hower. The exotic eatery opened a decade ago on Valentine’s Day and is still thriving; the tapas bar built upstairs from the restaurant just five years ago. The four entrepreneurs have each been in the culinary arts profession for twenty years. They have not just graced Harrisburg with their remarkable food preparation skill. These chefs have also cooked in cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix, and many unmentioned venues in Central America. When asked what sets Mangia Qui and Suba apart from other restaurants, Basore replies without hesitation: “The quality of the food, the staff ’s attention to detail, and the excellent level of service, as well as, the dedication from the staff is definitely what helps us to develop loyal customers.” She then goes on to explain that the owners, she included, are all passionate about every aspect
of the restaurant business, especially serving. Mangia Qui has an all Italian menu and serves appetizing dishes and fine wines. Even though the menu frequently changes based on what is in season or what is in demand locally, to the delight of regular customers, the Tuscan grille remains on the menu. Not only does Mangia Qui and Suba customers get to treat their taste buds whenever they visit, but they are also given the opportunity to be entertained by live bands in the tapas bar every Friday and Saturday. Mangia Qui is the perfect place for anyone seeking a romantic evening with a loved one or someone who would like “a foreign getaway” for a ladies night out without ever leaving the perimeters of the city. A popular lunch spot for lobbyists and legislators, as well as area business folks, the restaurant and bar are located at 272 North Street, just a short jaunt from the Capitol and other Harrisburg attractions. To view the menus and gallery, visit the eatery’s website at www. mangiaqui.com. CW
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march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
What they’re saying about natural gas Economically and environmentally, clean-burning natural gas is building a stronger, more secure America. That fact became even clearer as leaders such as President Clinton underscored the benefits of job-creating natural gas. At the same time, communities and consumers throughout the region continued to realize the promise of shale gas development. Following are some recent highlights of the positive benefits inherent to clean, American natural gas that have appeared in the media:
President Bill Clinton: “America Needs to End its ‘Ambivalence’ About Natural Gas”: America needs to end its “ambivalence” about natural gas and more specifically the hydraulic fracturing process used to crack underground rock formations and release the gas inside, he said. “We’re going to take that out of the ground. It’s obviously happening,” he said. (E&E News, 2/29/12)
Obama Admin. Sees “The Multiple Benefits” of Natural Gas: President [Obama] noted [in his State of the Union address] the multiple benefits of fracking (including job creation) and rejected the notion that the procedure amounts to having “to choose between our environment and our economy.” So, the administration sees fracking as an economically beneficial and, yes, safe option on America’s complete energy menu. (NY Post editorial, 2/26/12)
Marcellus Multiplier “Means More Than Drilling Jobs”: Largely because of energy sector growth, including drilling for gas in Marcellus shale, life is changing for people in Washington County. Its job growth ranked in the top five nationally when federal statistics trackers compared the first and second quarters of 2011 to the year prior. … The drilling boom came at the right time, during an economic downtown, said Emil Veal, vice president at Stephenson Equipment Inc. in Washington County. “It has taken over our business -- a lot more than the construction we’re used to doing,” Veal said. “We would have been in serious trouble if not for that.” (Tribune-Review, 2/26/12)
Another Business “Looking to Hire More Workers” Thanks to the Marcellus: Forum Energy Technologies started to become active April 2011. [Plant manager David] Schultz said, at that time he was the 11th person hired. Monday morning, Schultz said the 56th person began working at the Clearfield site. … “There is a good work force that is out here. There is a good labored workforce with welders and assemblers, and this place is a perfect location for building equipment for Marcellus and Utica Shale.” … Schultz said that Forum Energy Technologies is hoping to add another 35 employees to the Clearfield site by Memorial Day. He added that he hopes by Christmas they are at around 100 employees. (WJAC-TV, 2/27/12)
Marcellus Shale Jobs “Hot” in Western Pa.: The boom in the Marcellus shale industry has created thousands of jobs. … Gas producer Talisman Energy Inc. in Cranberry said it would add as many as 165 jobs. Halliburton Inc. of Houston, Texas, said it would create 865 jobs in Pennsylvania. Weatherwood International, which provides gas field services from offices in Leetsdale, Canonsburg and Elderton, announced it would create about 200 jobs. (Tribune-Review, 2/26/12)
“UGI to Cut Gas Prices by 4.3 percent, Credits Increased [Marcellus] Gas Production”: Natural gas prices for UGI customers are dropping again, and will soon reach a price more than 40 percent lower than four years ago. The company announced Wednesday it plans on cutting residential gas prices by about 4.3 percent. The price cut is directly related to market declines as a result of increased natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale. (Patriot-News, 2/29/12)
“UGI Customers to See Drop in Monthly Bills”: As gasoline pump prices climb, consumers can find relief in falling natural gas bills. UGI Penn Natural Gas said the decrease that goes into effect today will result in a 4.5 percent decline in the average customers’ monthly bill to $94.42 per month for someone using 8.9 Mcf, thousand cubic feet of gas monthly. … The decline in natural rates over the last four years has been substantial. The current rate is less than half what it was in 2008. UGI spokesman Joe Swope said UGI’s 570,000 customers are paying $300 million less for natural gas annually than they had in 2008. The reason for the dramatic decline is the abundance of natural gas from newly developed reserves from rock formations such as the Marcellus Shale underlying much of Pennsylvania. (Citizens Voice, 3/1/12)
More Affordable Natural Gas Rates for Philadelphia Consumers: The Philadelphia Gas Works said Thursday it has lowered the amount its customers pay for gas. The city-owned utility said its residential customers will pay $1.40 per 100 cubic feet of natural gas, a 6.6 percent decrease from the $1.51 per 100 cubic feet they had been paying. … PGW anticipates the rates will remain stable because of an abundance of natural gas on the market. (Philadelphia Business Journal, 3/1/12)
Marcellus Shale Creating “Additional Savings” for Pa. Families: While the cost of gas to fuel your car continues to rise, the cost of natural gas to heat your home is going down. UGI Utilities Inc. announced Wednesday that the price it pays to buy natural gas is going down, so by law, the Reading-based utility is passing the savings on to its customers. … With that decrease, UGI said the average monthly bill for customers will be more than 40 percent lower than it was four years ago. “Continued lower natural gas prices, supported by the introduction of Marcellus Shale gas into the market, has helped create additional savings that we are pleased to be able to pass on to our customers,” said [UGI’s] Vicki O. Ebner. (WFMZ-TV, 2/29/12)
“Low Natural Gas Prices Bring Good News in Electric Bills”: Residential electricity prices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey continue to move downward, thanks to the low cost of natural gas. PPL Electric Utilities this week became the latest utility to reduce its default generation charge. The Allentown company said its electricity supply fee, which is adjusted quarterly, will decrease nearly 11 percent March 1. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/24/12)
“Abundance of Natural Gas We’re Seeing a Result of Marcellus Shale”: With gas prices giving you more pain at the pump and grocery bills getting greedier for your wallet, you might be relieved to hear at least one staple is bucking the trend. PPL is offering lower rates starting March 1, giving customers a seven percent drop in electric costs. That means a little discretion at home can bring big savings on your monthly bill. … Low natural gas rates are also to thank, helped in part by Marcellus Shale drilling. “A lot of it is the abundance of natural gas we’re seeing as a result of Marcellus Shale,” Jennifer Kocher [of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Committee] said. (WHTM-TV, 2/27/12)
“Resurgence of U.S. as an Economic Superpower” Driven by Shale Gas: It’s a remarkable process. … Shale energy could be responsible for the resurgence of the United States as an economic superpower, with cheap local energy underpinning the second coming of its manufacturing industry as well as helping to balance its twin deficits – the current account and federal budget. (Business Spectator, 2/29/12)
Hess Corp. CEO: Shale Gas a “Real Game Changer”: U.S. energy policy for natural gas should focus on shale gas, which is a real game changer. Five years ago, shale gas accounted for approximately five percent of U.S. natural gas production; today it makes up almost 30 percent. Natural gas provides a significant competitive cost advantage for the United States in terms of cost per unit, which is several times lower than it is in other countries. It also has environmental advantages, with half the carbon footprint of coal, and helps our nation’s energy security as supplies are forecast to last for the next 100 years. (Harvard Business Review, 2/29/12)
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
House Bill not about women’s health Full disclosure time for female state reps: What did you think you were signing when you co-sponsored House Bill 1077? Quicker than a Republican Presidential contender can leap to the top of the polls and then crash and burn, House Bill 1077, authored by a little-known state Representative from Warren County, Kathy L. Rapp, was introduced (on Feb. 6), voted immediately to the House floor without public hearings by the House Health and Welfare Committee by a 20-7 vote on the same day, was supposedly “fast tracked” by House leadership and then – according to House Majority Leader Mike Turzai – shoved unceremoniously to the back burner. The legislative intent? To require all women in Pennsylvania seeking an abortion to undergo mandatory ultrasound testing 24 hours prior to the procedure. It would also force doctors to turn the ultrasound screen towards the woman’s face. The bill also stipulates that the woman take two prints with her (one for her scrapbook, and the other one for the doctor performing the abortion.) Civil and criminal penalties for doctors and patients who dare defy the legislating of medicine are also included in the legislation. The issue of mandatory ultrasounds involving the insertion of an internal probe made national headlines when similar legislation was being promoted in Virginia. The result was a modern day reprise of America’s 1950s instructions for surviving a nuclear attack: “Duck and cover.” At this point it’s not clear how many of the original 112 co-sponsors of House Bill 1077 have withdrawn their names from the bill. One such legislator, Glenn Grell, R-Cumberland, was forthright in stating to local media that he based his original decision to co-sponsor based on the “co-sponsorship memo” circulated before the actual text of the bill was available. No matter; the bill seems to reflect an effort not only to roll back the impact of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision but – at least in conservative circles in both political parties – to wage war on women’s rights. It’s not that doctors and health care professionals don’t engage in invasive practices from time to time in the interests on ensuring the highest quality of care for their patients. It’s just that we can’t think of any that can be carried out against a patient’s wishes. The law doesn’t require prostate examinations or mammograms or pelvic exams or even dental X-rays. Now, suddenly, House Bill 1077 would require thousands of women
to undergo tests which, in some cases might be a good idea medically or might not be necessary in other instances. And, the bill’s intent was cloaked as a defense of women’s rights, not a limitation. Probably most surprising was that half of the 34 women in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives signed on as co-sponsors. Did they, like Rep. Grell, think they were signing on to a significantly different kind of bill? Or were they participating through “informed consent,” the very language used in the bill to promote its implementation? This is probably a question that female voters should ask the 17 women who co-sponsored House Bill 1077. They are: State Reps. Kathy Rapp, R-65; Deberah Kula, D-52; Karen Bobak, R-117; Michele Brooks, R-17; Rosemary Brown, R-189; Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108; Mauree Gingrich, R-101; Marcia M. Hahn, R-138; Julie Harhart, R-183; Sue Helm, R-104; Sandra Major, R-111; Donna Oberander, R-63; Tina Pickett, R-110; Rosemarie Swanger, R-102; Marcy Toepel, R-147; Sarah Toohil, R-116; and, Katharine Watson, R-144. Not surprisingly, all of them are Republicans except for one. It seems pretty obvious by the House Majority Leader’s actions that the Republican Party is not itching for a fight with the largest single bloc of voters in the Commonwealth (more females are registered to vote than men and more women vote than men). Is the bill dead? No bill in the General Assembly is ever dead until sine die – the end of each two-year session – which comes after this year’s November legislative elections. The fact that the bill was born and up moving out of committee so rapidly suggests that women who are concerned about their rights need to be vigilant. And the women listed above are likely to be looking for signs of support – or opposition – from women voters in their home districts. CW
MARCH 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Voter ID bill passes key Senate panel, final Senate vote expected By Kevin Zwick, Capitolwire
A controversial Voter ID bill passed a key panel March 5, setting up a vote by the full Senate as Capital Watch goes to press. The bill, which would require voters to show some form of identification each time they vote, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 15-11, with Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango, joining the committee’s Democrats in voting against the legislation. If the legislation passes the Legislature and is signed by Gov. Tom Corbett, most voters would be required starting in the November general election to provide photo identification each time they vote. Under current law, voters are required to show photo identification only the first time they vote in a precinct. The House is expected to concur with
the current version of the bill. The governor has also indicated support for the proposal. The bill would require identification issued by state government, colleges and universities, and state care facilities. The Appropriations Committee amended the bill to expand the list to include county and municipal employee badges as an acceptable form of ID. The proposal also provides for religious exemptions. Democratic Appropriations Chairman Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia, and other opponents say the legislation would suppress the vote among minorities, senior citizens, and youth. “This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria. “Joe McCarthy would be so damn proud of us.”
Senate Democrats offered a number of amendments during the March 5 Appropriations meeting, but the amendments failed on party lines. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, attempted to force a vote on a 22-page amendment that would have made sweeping campaign finance changes, including limits on contributions in state and local elections. The amendment was tabled on a party line vote. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said he applauded Costa’s efforts on campaign finance reform, but suggested that the amendment be offered up as its own bill. Other Democratic amendments also failed on party lines. Costa proposed changing the effective date of the legislation to January 2013. Other amend-
ments called for more requirements on educating voters about the change, but Pileggi said the legislation already says public dissemination of the information is required. Republican Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, said the no one would be turned away at the polls, since the legislation allows those without identification to vote using a provisional ballot. The voter would then have six days to show identification to the county election board to validate their vote, under the legislation. Lawmakers said the legislation would undergo a “soft rollout” for the 2012 primary, where voters would be asked by election officials to produce photo identification, but would not be required to provide it. CW
Coalition group urges ‘no’ vote from senators on Voter ID bill A voting rights coalition protested March 5 over a proposed voter ID bill, urging senators to vote against the bill. The Protect Our Vote coalition, which includes union organizations, the AARP, and NAACP, plans to deliver a petition of more than 13,000 signatures from Pennsylvania residents opposed to House Bill 934. The petition, which is about 1,000 feet long, was rolled down the Capitol steps after the rally.
The bill, introduced a year ago by Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County, would require voters each time they vote to show some form of identification, including government-issued identification, college and university IDs, and state care facility identification. Currently, voters are only required to present identification the first time they vote in an election district.
Under the bill, voters who cannot provide identification would be able to vote via provisional ballot, but would have to produce identification within six days to the local election office for their vote to be counted. Supporters of bill say it addresses issues of voter fraud and ensures the credibility of the voting system. Coalition members say that the bill adds an “unnecessary layer of bureaucra-
elegance at hershey
cy” that will make it difficult for youth, minority, and senior citizen voters. The coalition also said the bill could also cost the state money for its implementation. Ivonne Gutierrez Bucher, state director for the AARP, said her organization is currently engaged in litigation in other states over similar legislation. AARP represents about 1.8 million older Pennsylvanians. CW
June 8-10, 2012 hershey, pennsylvania
The Elegance at Hershey Honorary Chairs Cynthia & Edsel Ford II
The Grand Ascent Returns June 8 & 9, 2012 Sponsored by McCarthy Tire & Automotive Centers Revival of the historic Hershey Hill Climb expands to 2-days this year. More than 60 vintage race cars – many pre-WWII - roaring up the challenging back road to The Hotel Hershey ® A vSCCA Sanctioned event with Open pits, special spectator areas, unique car displays, a vendors midway , food & more! Donation/admission: $10.00/day
ages 15 and under are free. Plus free parking.
Event benefits: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, AACA Museum and AACA Library & Research Center
march 2012 CAPITAL WATCH
Commonsense prevailing wage reform would bring cost-savings to taxpayer-funded projects By Lesley Smith
School districts and state and local governments are struggling to keep their operating budgets in the black while providing essential services; taxpayers are at their breaking point. It flies in the face of reason, then, to allow unchanged a decades-old law to force these entities to unnecessarily pay more for taxpayer supported public works projects. But that is exactly what is happening because of Pennsylvania’s antiquated Prevailing Wage Law. The 1961 law, which hasn’t been updated in more than 50 years, mandates that workers on taxpayer-supported construction and infrastructure projects costing more than $25,000 be paid a state-determined and often grossly inflated wage rate (prevailing wage). These rates are often well above typical private-sector wages in a particular region – exceeding market wages anywhere from 30 percent to 75 percent, according to a Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs’ study comparing the prevailing wage rate to the average occupational wage.
Prevailing wage is a drain on taxpayers Based on wage data, the prevailing wage mandate can raise the total cost of construction projects receiving taxpayer dollars anywhere from 5 to 30 percent – creating more than $2 billion in extra costs for Pennsylvania taxpayers each year. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the state Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs and Pennsylvania-based construction companies, the prevailing wage mandate costs a typical Pennsylvanian up to $230 per year and the average family of four up to $900 per year. This extra cost does not guarantee a bigger building, better materials or a safer structure. It merely takes money from the wallets of hardworking Pennsylvanians and threatens them with higher property taxes. $25,000 threshold no longer reflects economic reality While local government organiza-
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tions, taxpayer advocate groups and the business community support a full repeal of artificial wage requirements, they are supporting a number of reasonable bills introduced in the General Assembly to reform this costly mandate. The PA Chamber urges lawmakers to, at the very least, raise the $25,000 project threshold, which is unrealistic in today’s economy. Failure to increase this threshold has resulted in a law intended for large, expansive projects to now encompass nearly every public project. Local governments are forced to think twice about moving forward with routine, yet important, projects – such as roof replacements, bridge repairs, outdoor lighting projects, traffic signal upgrades, road maintenance, etc. – because they fall under the Prevailing Wage Law. House Bill 1329, which awaits a vote on final passage in the state House, would adjust the law’s current project cost threshold for inflation, raising it to $185,000. Even prevailing wage supporters can’t deny that the original authors of the act must have had some
concept of the type and scale of project to which prevailing wage should apply or why include a threshold at all? Clearly, $25,000 does not buy in 2012 what it did in 1961. Raising the threshold for inflation is simply common sense. Local governments and school districts are operating under increasingly restrictive budgets, and the prevailing wage mandate is one more obstacle impeding efforts to balance budgets and improve communities through vital construction projects and infrastructure improvements. While it’s only a first step, lawmakers can nonetheless demonstrate they are on the side of Pennsylvania taxpayers by voting “yes” on H.B. 1329. CW Lesley Smith is director of communications for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.
2/14/2012 10:49:00 AM