Apr 30, 2020

Matthew J. Brouillette: There is a lack of transparency

By Matthew J. Brouillette
President and CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs

It’s not an understatement to say every Pennsylvanian has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands have faced the virus itself, over a million children are not in school, and more than 1.5 million workers have lost their jobs as a result of Gov. Wolf’s shutdown.

The Governor assures us his decisions are ‘data-driven,’ and that we need to ‘believe the science’ in combating COVID-19.

But what exactly is the data driving these decisions? And what is the science we are to believe?

Unfortunately, we don’t know. For weeks, Wolf has refused repeated requests to release the data behind his shutdown order. He has also ignored lawmakers’ requests for information surrounding his wavier process, shuttered Open Records offices to block the media and the public from accessing information, and failed to disclose the medical experts we are told to trust.

And while the Department of Health provides daily counts of COVID-19 cases and deaths, Secretary Levine has ignored requests to provide data on recoveries—clearly not all the ‘total cases’ reported daily are active. St. Luke’s hospital recently discharged its 500th COVID patient. Earlier in April, we learned UPMC had discharged 130 COVID patients and has had so few patients that it will resume elective surgeries. The number of recoveries and discharges statewide is undoubtedly far higher.

But we don’t know how high, because Wolf’s administration won’t tell us.

Instead, we are told the ‘virus determines the timeline’ for re-opening, and we’re simply to trust the experts.

Apr 26, 2020

Joe Biden is searching for a Vice President. Why Not Governor Wolf?

Something interesting is playing out in this year’s presidential election and it is a perfect example of how identity politics is destroying the Democratic Party. Joe Biden, now bunkered down in his basement, is currently Zooming the internet vetting his potential vice presidential candidate. Biden’s choice is supposed to be announced in the next few weeks.

A vice presidential vetting process and the actual choice itself is always overblown. It gets way too much media coverage. Most voters don’t even care who the running mate of a presidential candidate is. But this is not the case this election cycle. Considering Biden’s age, 77, and his numerous gaffs on cable news interviews lately, Biden’s selection of a vice presidential running mate might be the most critical choice he has made in his political career.

And as usual “middle class” Joe is blowing it. In the last Democratic Party debate against Bernie Sanders, Biden boxed himself in by committing to picking a woman as his running mate.
“I commit that I will, in fact, pick a woman to be vice president. There are a number of women qualified to be president tomorrow,” said Biden, adding, “I would pick a woman to be my vice president.”

Governor Tom Wolf: Covid-19 Press Conferences

Apr 24, 2020

Covid-19 Bocephus Style

Governor Wolf says call the state’s mental health hotline, While the money in our bank accounts are going dry.

Covid-19 deaths are always up and the stock market is down. And you might get arrested if you walk downtown.

I live back in the woods you see, The woman and the kid, and Tiger King on the TV!

I got a shotgun rifle and a four-wheel drive, and a country boy can survive. 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

We work in a factory, a mine, and drive big ol’ trucks. If you think Covid-19 is going to kill us all we don’t give a f#%ck!

The state liquor store is now open but you still can’t get a haircut. If you got to call the state’s UC hotline, buddy good luck!

I got a shotgun rifle and a four-wheel drive, and a country boy can survive. 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

LIVE: Press Briefing with Coronavirus Task Force

Apr 23, 2020

Across the divide: Rural Pennsylvania stares down the coronavirus

By Becky Bennett

Here in rural Pennsylvania, we’ve always had a built-in physical distance between ourselves and others, which has fostered an us-against-the-world self-sufficiency. It may be only a temporary advantage during this pandemic—we know the train wreck is coming—but we’ll take any edge we can get.

Here are some of the ways we’re managing. A lot of us don’t have the kinds of jobs you can do from home. We have the “life-sustaining” jobs that in many cases sustain those who can, in fact, work from home—many of us are garbage collectors, delivery people, caregivers, grocery store clerks, mail carriers and farmers.

Really, the true life-sustaining job in this country is farming. And thank goodness, farmers are still farming. For the rest of us, seeing farmers out and about doing the things they typically do in the spring lifts our spirits as always. But in seeing the farmers this year, we feel, with greater intensity and more fervent hope than ever, that life goes on. The more practical result is that we can get eggs, dairy products, produce and meat locally.

Many other jobs, for instance in construction, manufacturing and retail, are suspended, so those who can work are grateful albeit worried about the interpersonal contact required. (Hopefully, these jobs will continue to prove life-sustaining—rather than deadly—for us too).

We have other things going for us for which we’re also thankful. We find ourselves starting (properly distanced) conversations with, “At least we have . . .” and “If we had to, we could always . . ." There are bona fide preppers among us and we salute them, but nearly everyone in rural America has a prepper streak.

Thus, we say, “At least we have . . . a freezer full of deer meat . . . all the tomato sauce and peaches we canned last year . . . enough wood for the woodstove . . . well water . . . plenty of ammunition.” Yes, guns are involved in our conversations. More on that in a moment.

“If we had to, we could . . . head for the cabin or deer camp . . . ” Camps are our version of second homes in the Catskills or Hamptons. They may be trailers or shacks and don’t have much in the way of amenities other than some cans of baked beans, but they don’t have close neighbors either.

Of course, we still need social connection as much as anyone—and its absence has been a painful rift in the fabric of rural life: no more church services and suppers, bingo, AYCE feeds, meat raffles at the firehall—not even spring yard sales, for God’s sake. No one can go and see a new baby or the grandchildren. Like everyone else, we’ve turned to social media, where, unfortunately, we’re uniquely susceptible to scams, scares and fake news.

There’s talk of getting the gardens started and increasing their size. When you drive around, you see people outside . . . just digging. In the small towns, the lawns have greened up and those whose jobs are on hold have already mowed twice and precision-trimmed the bushes. We’re grateful to be able to go outdoors, walk, look off into the distance, hear birds singing and breathe fresh air.

Turkey season and trout season are around the corner. Which brings us to guns. For rural people, guns are both a link to potential food and a source of security. We can call 911, but realistically, a law enforcement response has always been many minutes or even hours away. It can only get worse in the weeks ahead.

So we’re cleaning guns and target-shooting just to be ready—during the week now, not just on weekends, you can go outside and hear bang, bang, bang all around. It can be oddly reassuring, although it does get old. More ominously, there are rumors of home break-ins and people are blustering on social media about confronting intruders with AR-15s. Sanity needs to prevail over edginess, so nobody shoots a family member. We need to remember we can’t shoot fear of the unknown.

While the pandemic has accentuated the working-class/urban divide in many ways, it will likely prove to be a great social leveler. We’re all in the same precarious canoe. Despite our swagger, many in rural America have been living on the edge for some time, and it won’t take much of a shove to tip us into the abyss. Our open spaces and lower incomes mean a lack of paid sick days, lack of health insurance, and limited health care, mobility, child care and elder care. We’ll need outside reinforcements.

We don’t control our fate, only what we do for each other. We’ll need the help of urban and suburban people, and they’ll need our help—our farmers, our ingenuity, resourcefulness and generosity—in ways we haven’t fully grasped yet. But when we do, may the rural determination to persevere and “figure it out” uplift us all.

Becky Bennett lives in south-central Pennsylvania and is a freelance writer and editor. She was editor of the Public Opinion newspaper in Chambersburg for 18 years. “Across the Divide” examines rural perspectives on issues facing Pennsylvania and the nation.

Coronavirus: Don’t Question the Science or Our Models

Apr 22, 2020

Governor Wolf: Residents in North, Central, and Northwestern parts of Pennsylvania projected first in the state to be released from stay-at-home order

BREAKING NEWS: In today’s news conference, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf outlined a phased approach to reopening Pennsylvania’s economy. Wolf wants to begin easing some pandemic restrictions on May 8 in areas of Pennsylvania that have been lightly impacted by the coronavirus.

Full Press Release: Gov. Wolf: Reopening Targeted for May 8 in North-Central, Northwest

Regions and counties will move from red to yellow, and then, eventually, to green, meaning that all pandemic restrictions are lifted, aside from any federal or state health guidelines that remain in effect.

“Tonight, I’m announcing our plan to slowly reopen Pennsylvania.We will use a measured, scientific approach. We will not just be flipping a switch to go from closed to open. And, ultimately, #COVID19 will set the timeline.

There will be three phases: red, yellow, and green.

Wolf says he is looking to move the less impacted regions in the North, Central, and Northwestern parts in Pennsylvania to the Yellow Phase on May 8th. These areas 
The yellow phase is the first phase of reopening:
Yellow = Fewer restrictions with exceptions
✅ Telework must continue where feasible
✅ Stay at Home restrictions lifted
✅ Retail and child care reopens with strict protections in place

Wolf also announced construction will begin to resume, with limitations and social distancing, on May 1. The previous date was May 8.

Apr 21, 2020

Coronavirus Has Changed My Life

As a Distribution Supervisor of one of North America's largest auto suppliers, I had a front row seat as the Coronavirus crisis began to cripple American industry and bring it to its knees. I witnessed something that I thought never in my life would happen. One by one America's big three automakers began to shutdown their plants.

It began around 9AM on the morning of March 19th. We started receiving a flurry of calls and emails. One by one the four F150 Ford plants my company supplies began to shutdown. Each call directing me to cancel all current and future shipments until further notice. At around 1PM, Chrysler and General Motors followed suit.

A sense of uncertainty began to grip all of us. Truck drivers we turned away were in a general state of confusion. Their companies began calling me to see if I could help get the driver loads out of the state.

As I walked out of the factory that day to go home, I could not stop the overall feeling of shock and sadness that overwhelmed me. I thought to myself, OMG I just watch the titans American industry just die in front of my eyes.

I began to think of all the auto workers and their families. The families of those who work at the nation’s automotive suppliers and how they will be impacted. I was gripped by the sadness of what I just witnessed.

Looking back now that day was surreal. A day I will never forget.

Like many Pennsylvanians this Coronavirus outbreak has flipped my life upside down. It has forced all of us to evaluate what is really important in our lives. As our work and professional lives have been placed on hold or paused, many of us have discovered just how truly blessed we really are.

Coronavirus has forced us to focus on family. It has given us all a greater appreciation of our neighbors. A heightened awareness of just how important our overall health and well-being really is. Although we are all practicing social distancing and confined to our homes, I cannot help feeling even more connected and more focused on my life.

We all know what we lost.  We all know what is at stake moving forward. What does that look like? I feel confident that we will all figure that out.

Apr 20, 2020

Mastriano Seeks Legislative Oversight & Input on Emergency Actions

HARRISBURG – State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) recently introduced a measure that aims to enhance legislative oversight and input on current emergency actions.

Mastriano is concerned about unilateral decisions made by the administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, without consultation or feedback by the General Assembly.

As a result, Mastriano introduced Senate Resolution 323 in an effort to generate discourse between the executive and legislative branches during the health crisis.

“The current decision-making process is not working. There has been no dialogue between the Governor and lawmakers, whatsoever,” said Mastriano. “I cannot recall any Governor in our history who has exercised so much power, with so little accountability or transparency as Governor Wolf. The Governor has not worked with the General Assembly, nor sought to build a coalition with Pennsylvanians, to come up with a plan to intelligently guide us through these times.”

The concurrent resolution was recently assigned to the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee. State Representative Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) has introduced the House version of the measure (HR836).

Mastriano cited concerns about numerous mandates that have been imposed by the administration, including the Governor’s flawed business waiver system. The criteria that was used during the process has been called into question, and lawmakers – led by Mastriano – have officially requested documentation depicting how those decisions were reached.

“We are a constitutional republic, where power is divided amongst three branches of government, and checks and balances should be in place to prevent any branch from wielding so much authority,” said Mastriano. “It is the constitutional responsibility of the General Assembly to provide oversight over the actions of the executive branch, especially during this crisis. We need to restore accountability, oversight and transparency before more damage is done.”

CONTACT: Scot Andrew Pitzer; spitzer@pasen.gov

Breaking News: Governor Wolf Extended His Stay At Home Order to May 8th.

Governor Wolf announced today that his Stay-At-Home Order will remain in place until at least May 8. After that, Gov. Wolf says Pa. will begin gradually reopening with continuing "hyper vigilance".

Governor Wolf announced that he is going to take "small steps" to reopen state's economy. Curbside liquor sales started today and he plans on lifting the ban for some construction projects on May 8th. Auto sales can resume this week online.

Apr 19, 2020

Mask Confusion Grips PA Residents

So it starts. All of us must now follow the latest Covid-19 edict of the Pennsylvania Health Secretary, Dr. Levine. The edict requires that a face mask be worn by all workers and customers at essential businesses henceforth to, “protect the safety of those life sustaining workers".

So if you show up at an "essential business" Sunday at 8PM and you are not wearing a face mask the essential business is supposed to turn you away or not serve you. There goes that customer first best business practices. Now it is government first!!

One has to wonder if you are wearing a face mask but no shoes or shirt will you be served at this point? We may need more clarification from Dr. Levine on the shoes and shirt aspects.

Failure to comply with these requirements will result in an enforcement action that could include citations, fines, or license suspensions.

Wolf has directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic to the full extent of the law:

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Department of Health
Department of Agriculture
Department of Labor and Industry
Pennsylvania State Police
Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions

Now in the land of Dr. Levine, issuing an edict on high of this magnitude is just not that simple. Of course you have your exemptions. Apparently if you have a "medical condition" you don't need a mask. Not sure how that is going to be enforced but ok. Oh and if your are under the age of three you don’t have to wear a mask.

For Pennsylvania residents who are now scrambling to buy face masks, today Governor Wolf’s office has provided us with some clarity. There is an exception to that rule now. When “the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such goods”.

Feel better now? Not confused any more?

Needless to say this could have been handled a little better by our beloved Dr. Levine and Governor Wolf. Instead of issuing an edict, they could have said we strongly recommend the use of face masks. But they don’t care about niceties or decorum at this point.

Together Wolf and Dr. Levine have placed more burdens on these essential businesses already struggling during this crises and have ordered them into an adversarial relationship with their customers.

Good luck!

Many customers will refuse to wear a mask just because they were ordered to do so. Or they will shop at businesses that will not enforce the order.

Welcome to the new normal in Pennsylvania!

Apr 18, 2020

Propaganda Regarding the Trump Administration’s Response Not Helping Anyone!

One thing frustrating many of us during this Covid-19 crisis is the amount of disinformation and blatant falsehoods being distributed by the mainstream media and Pro Biden political groups criticizing the Trump Administration’s response.

Recently, Priorities USA Action, a Pro Biden political PAC is running political ads here in PA. These ads are misleading the public by providing false information regarding the Trump Administration’s response and inflating the overall scale of the Covid-19 outbreak itself.

Anti Trump political ads like the one below are scaring the public and promoting fear. They should be taking down by all social media companies immediately for spreading false information during this crisis. If you see one of these ads on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube flag them for spreading false news.

Hate and fear are not saving or helping anyone right now. Frankly theses groups and the media should be ashamed of themselves!

How about we look at the actual actions taken by the Trump Administration instead of the false information being feed to us by the media.

January 31, 2020 - President Trump declares a national health emergency and imposes a ban on travel to and from China.

January 31, 2020 - Former Vice President Joe Biden calls Trump’s decision “hysterical xenophobia … and fear-mongering.”

February 3, 2020 – House impeachment managers begin closing arguments, calling Trump a threat to national security.

February 4, 2020 -President Trump talks about China virus in his State of the Union address; Pelosi rips up every page.

February 5, 2020 – Chuck Schumer tweets that the travel ban “is just an excuse to further his ongoing war against immigrants”.

February 5, 2020 – House democrats finally take up China virus in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia.

February 24, 2020 – Nancy Pelosi encourages and continues pushing tourism to Chinatown

March 13, 2020 - NY Mayor DeBlasio encourages New Yorkers to go about their daily lives as usual.

Disgusting how the media writes nothing but opinion based propaganda articles instead of the truth!

According to the latest polls close to 58% of Americans approve of how the Trump Administration has responded to the crisis.

So message to the mainstream media and the “Orange Man Bad” hate groups, the American People are not buying it! 

Apr 17, 2020

Memo to America's leaders: Your credibility dies in darkness

Jennifer Stefano is vice president and chief innovation officer at the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania’s free-market think tank. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferStefano.

As our health care system and economy teeter under the strain from COVID-19, elected officials are making some of the most important decisions of our lifetimes. Especially at the state level, many are emerging as competent leaders. Others, though, are undermining their authority and the public trust by hiding behind a wall of secrecy.
Americans have never put up with “don’t ask questions, just trust me” for long — especially in a crisis.
In Pennsylvania, for example, Gov. Tom Wolf initially was an open book in dealing with the coronavirus threat, holding daily news conferences and providing updates. But then he dropped a hammer on the state’s workers and businesses with no warning.
On March 19, Wolf issued a statewide ban on business operations not deemed “life-sustaining.” The drastic measure was unprecedented, and so was its announcement. The shutdown order was announced on a Thursday afternoon and went into effect just three hours later.
The business community wasn’t consulted. Lawmakers were blindsided. The criteria for what qualified as “life-sustaining” was ill-defined, and bans on certain industries appeared to be arbitrary. The details eventually released were a hodgepodge, seemingly assembled with little forethought, that evolved constantly over the next weeks.
Truckers could work, but interstate rest stops and Turnpike restaurants and restrooms were closed. State-run liquor stores were open, but payroll companies — which ensure life-sustaining workers can be paid — were shuttered. Then rest stops and payroll companies were reopened and liquor stores were closed. Unprecedented times may call for unprecedented measures, but the haphazard rollout of Wolf’s business shutdown was entirely Then it got worse.
Wolf imposed a waiver process for “non-life-sustaining” businesses to get clearance to reopen — a red-tape measure that no other state has replicated.
Other states under businesses shutdowns, such as in Maryland, allow for exemptions for businesses in the supply chain, or a good-faith determination, using legal counsel, in cases where a business may provide “essential” services but isn’t on the approved list. Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Gavin Newsom of California have provided greater clarity and transparency while implementing their own extraordinary measures.
But in Pennsylvania, businesses must ask permission to reopen and wait in limbo for approval. By April 3, over 42,000 waiver applications had been filed and thousands had received no answer. The Wolf administration then announced a sudden halt to the waiver process, again taking business owners by surprise.

And there are stories of waivers being denied to some businesses while being granted to others. Consider also that the governor’s former business, cabinet-maker Wolf Home Products, received
a waiver. After a public outcry, the waiver was rescinded, but the damage was done. Will Pennsylvanians trust Wolf to have their best interests at heart going forward? Or will they perceive this as another case of politicized decision-making by corrupt elites?
It’s hard to fault their suspicions. 
Because the waiver process takes place behind closed doors, no one really knows who makes the decisions and what criteria is used. And the Wolf administration is refusing open records requests for details. According to investigative journalism nonprofit Spotlight PA, “The process has sowed widespread frustration, anger and confusion.” 
That’s why Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to bring clarity to Wolf’s shadowy shutdown. This week, the General Assembly passed a bill that replaces the Wolf administration’s “essential” list and waiver process with simple and transparent guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security, allowing more elements of the economy to reopen as long as businesses adhere to strict social distancing requirements.
Though Wolf says he plans to veto this bill, he should take its lessons to heart.
Dramatic emergency orders, though understandable in a crisis, are really just new laws that all must follow or face the consequences. Except nobody votes on them and few, if any, understand them.
Wolf should take this legislative pushback as an opportunity for a course correction. If he continues to govern in darkness, he'll undermine his authority and risk that his next directives will be met with suspicion rather than acceptance.

Deflation Ahead!

Globalization has generated hyper-specialization  in local and regional economies, stripping them of resilience. Fully  exposed to the demand flows of a globalized class of consumers with  surplus discretionary income, regions specialized in tourism,  manufacturing, commodity mining, etc.
All these regions are now facing a structural collapse of global demand, and they have no  diversified local economy to cushion the blow to jobs, incomes, profits  and tax revenues.

This is the future of vast swaths of the global  economy: labor, commodities, assets, goods and services, and the tax revenues that are skimmed from the private sector, will all crash as supply far exceeds demand.

The price of a great many assets will crash, out of proportion to the decline in demand. Only the global top  10% can afford to buy pricey vacation homes, for example, and as the top  10% own 90% of the assets that are melting away like ice cubes in Death  Valley, when their ability and willingness to buy assets they can no  longer afford vanishes, the market price of those assets can fall 90% or  even to zero.

Apr 16, 2020

PA GOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas Calls on Wolf to Re-open businesses

Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas issued the following statement urging Governor Wolf to sign legislation (SB 613 and SB 327) which would start to safely re-opening Pennsylvania’s economy: 

“The Pennsylvania Legislature is taking a bold lead on measures to safely re-open businesses which closed on the unilateral order of Governor Wolf.  On March 16, offering little more than a spreadsheet for guidance, Governor Wolf ordered what amounted to a statewide shutdown of businesses — including the supply chain for essential items such as personal protective equipment for health care workers. Wolf’s Executive Order ignored guidelines set by the Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) and US Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines. Waivers granted by his administration came unevenly and without rhyme or reason. Hardworking Pennsylvanians have participated faithfully, and they deserve to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Governor Wolf has an obligation and an opportunity to live up to his promise of a transparent government by signing this legislation without hesitation. 
# # # 
SB 613 requires Governor Wolf to create guidelines for businesses to operate during COVID-19.  It also requires that Pennsylvania base these guidelines on CDC and CISA guidance as 22 states and Washington D.C. have done.  
SB 327 allows county governments authority to develop COVID-19 mitigating strategies following CDC and CISA guidelines, including which businesses can operate.  It also creates the COVID-19 Cost and Recovery Task Force which includes all three branches of government. The Task Force will develop a plan to recover from COVID-19.  

Apr 15, 2020

PA Governor Tom Wolf’s New Task Force for Health Disparity to Address How COVID-19 Affects Minorities

Amid growing concern for how COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting minority populations in the state and adding to existing health disparity issues, today Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announced the creation of a COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity that will help communicate issues with how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations.
“We know of instances in Pennsylvania where major COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in vulnerable communities, including ones where people do not speak English,” Gov. Wolf said. “We’re working to improve our data collection so we can get a better statistical understanding of how the virus has affected different groups of people. The Lieutenant Governor will be chairing a new Health Disparity Task Force that will work to identify short- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in our vulnerable communities.”
The Task Force is comprised of members of the Wolf Administration, led by Lt. Gov. Fetterman and including the executive directors of each of the governor’s five commissions representing minority populations, members of the Department of Health’s Health Equity Response team and those that serve as the contact for stakeholders, constituents and legislators on issues and concerns surrounding health disparity in Pennsylvania’s vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
In addition to multiple information-gathering meetings each week, this working group will proactively reach out to leaders in these communities to collect feedback, ideas, and general comments on this issue.
The goal of the task force is to prepare recommendations to the governor that will address the short- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state’s minority and vulnerable communities.
“It’s unconscionable for Black, Hispanic, and Asian-Pacific Pennsylvanians to be hit harder by this pandemic, which has highlighted the systemwide inequity that already existed in these communities,” said Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. “It’s our job to keep all Pennsylvanians safe, and we need to reach into these communities and create a line of communication straight to the governor, so we can stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The Department of Health releases daily data on those affected with COVID-19, but data on race has been in short supply.
“Currently we are missing that vital race information from approximately 70% of the data we are receiving from providers,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Department of Health. “Yesterday we issued a reminder to hospitals and other providers that it is mandatory to report race data. We need to gather this information for a complete picture of how the virus is affecting black or African-American, Hispanic and other vulnerable communities. An increase in reporting race data means less anecdotal evidence and more facts to rely on for accurately tracking where and how we can best serve our minority populations.”
“By working proactively with leaders of different communities across our commonwealth, we can better ensure nobody gets left out as we start to recover from this crisis,” Gov. Wolf said. “We all need to continue to work together to get through this pandemic. We need to continue to care for one another. We need to continue to support each other. And we need to continue to be mindful of how our actions affect others.”

PA Small Business Owner Defies Governor Wolf’s Order. Says He Is Open For Business

I own a small business in PA (for over 8 years). When the 'recommendation' came to close all non-essential businesses, I did not close.  They said 14 days to flatten the curve on 3/16.  They ordered all non-essential businesses such as mine to close on 3/19 so I did out of fear of being arrested/fined/jailed.

Of course they extended the orders to 4/30 for stay at home and "indefinitely" for non-essential biz closures.  I didn't care.  I gave them until 3/31 like they wanted initially and so I opened back up on 4/1. Yep against 'orders'.

I have no license the state can revoke (like restaurants/bars/etc) and I can't afford to lose customers exponentially any longer, so I reached out to some of my customers to inform them that I'm back in business.

I'm still open but am not announcing it in a major way until 4/30. I have customers coming now daily!

Sure, I still lose business and have gotten a few "shame on you" emails, but I'm satisfying customers and staving off bankruptcy - no thanks to the Governor.  I applied for aid (loan) last month while closed, havent received any.  So it's up to ME to save myself the only way I know...stay open and take care of my essential livelihood.

I will not allow my civil liberties to be taken away.

Stop the bullshit posturing and empty words and stand up for yourself!  Take back your freedom - not by commenting or marching/protesting, but by opening back up and supporting other businesses who do!  I have and am walking the walk so I'm not some troll prognosticating on FB. It takes guts but fortune favors the bold!

If you want to stay in your home sheltered until the year 2025, please feel free. But what you're not going to do is shame other Americans who want to get back to work and back to normal life - and believe this country should be reopened on 4/30. No way...There is power in numbers.  Open back up on 5/1 or before! 

Apr 14, 2020

Breaking News: PA House of Representatives passes bill allowing PA businesses to reopen

10 pm:

The Pennsylvania State House JUST PASSED legislation to allow businesses to reopen as long as they are able to maintain all the social distancing guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control.


Now the bill goes to the Senate where it will likely pass and then to Governor Wolf to be signed or vetoed.
Here is how the reps from NEPA voted:
(I would have supported this common sense legislation)

Karen Boback
Jonathan Fritz
Aaron Kaufer
Michael Peifer
Tina Picket
Tarah Toohil

Bridget Malloy-Kosierowski
Marty Flynn
Gerald Mullery
Mike Carroll

Governor Tom Wolf: End the restrictions, heard immunity, just sayin.....

You asked us to help you, we did. You asked us to close our business, we did. You asked us to stay home, we did. You asked us to continue to stay at home, we are. So here I am, at home, waiting. You told us don’t worry unemployment will come, it hasn’t. You told us don’t worry grants are coming, they haven’t.

You told us don’t worry forgivable loans are coming, they haven’t. You told us don’t worry stimulus money is coming, it hasn’t.

So here I am, at home waiting. I wait alongside most of my fellow small business owners, those self-employed and independent contractors. A massive number of PA residents who are waiting for the Unemployment portal to open for us, waiting for loan approvals, waiting for stimulus checks. All of these programs, we are at the back of the line for. So here we wait.

While bills come daily, savings continuously dwindling and still doing our part. It is time you do yours. It is an inconceivable expectation to close unessential business halting all income and expect us to survive.

We need to pay our bills and put food on the table. Without immediate action, you are leaving us no options. How are we to survive? We deserve an answer.

Coming soon is not acceptable any longer!

Waiver of Penalties on Accelerated Sales Tax Prepayments

Businesses that collect Pennsylvania sales tax will not have to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments in April, May or June, the Department of Revenue has announced. That means businesses that normally have a monthly prepayment requirement will not be charged penalties for missing the prepayment deadline during this three-month period. 

Under this new scenario, the department is asking businesses to simply remit the sales tax that they collected during the prior month. The due dates to remit sales tax will be April 20, May 20 and June 22, which follows the standard due dates for monthly filers who have no prepayment requirement.  

Visit the Department of Revenue’s page on Accelerated Sales Tax Prepayments for more information on how to calculate your prepayments.
All businesses are encouraged to remit online using e-TIDES, the department’s online tax system for businesses. Find the REV-819 on the department’s website for a schedule of return and prepayment due dates. You can also visit the department’s Online Customer Service CenterOpens In A New Window to find answers to common tax questions or submit a question to the department.