Health Care - April 5, 2013

Governor Corbett headed to South America

The Governor is headed to South America this weekend.  He is leading a delegation on a business mission to Brazil and Chile.  The 10-day trip will take the Governor to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Santiago, Chile to promote economic growth in Pennsylvania.  The aim is to sell PA as the best place for Brazilian and Chilean companies to enter the US market.  A non-profit called Team Pennsylvania Foundation is funding the trip.  The group “works with state government and businesses to encourage economic growth.”  First Lady Susan Corbett will be accompanying the Governor, as will Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker, Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway, Public Utility Chairman Rob Powelson and staff.

The trip is the third of its kind for the Governor, who has previously led similar missions to France, Germany and Silicone Valley in 2012.  The group will be meeting with the governors of Sao Paulo and Rio as well as with the Chilean President.  They will participate in meetings on transportation, mining, oil and gas.


Philadelphia eyes liquor tax for school funding

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council are considering raising the “liquor by the drink tax” to help fund the School Reform Commission.  Last week the Commission asked the city for $60 million in funding; the Commission also asked the state for an additional $120 million.  The Commission has a $242 million budget deficit even though it recently closed schools, plans to cut teacher salaries and reduced central office staff. 

Mayor Nutter has said he will seriously consider the request.  He did note that the city has increased funding to city schools over the last few years as the city dealt with the recession.  The liquor tax, which currently sits at ten percent, generates about $40 million annually for the city and affects the sales of wine, beer, and malt beverages.  That money is already earmarked for school funding.