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In the weeks leading up to February 7, when Governor Wolf will present his budget plan, there has been much discussion on how legislators will approve a new budget while dealing with Pennsylvania’s looming budget difficulties. In fact, the Independent Fiscal Office estimates that the Commonwealth faces a deficit of close to $600 million between now and the end of June.
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As we survey the political landscape post-election, there has been a great deal of discussion and debate about an issue that received little attention during the presidential campaign – potential changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  There has been speculation that the new administration and Congress may consider fundamental shifts in the way federal funds are distributed to the states to operate Medicaid. There has also been speculation that there may be proposals to change how older Americans get health insurance through Medicare.
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It has been quite the month!  Some would say that only fools try to predict what will happen in public affairs because inevitably the outcomes will make the predictors look foolish.  There are many pundits looking back at the results of the November 8 elections with those thoughts in mind.
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Over the past few weeks, our round ups have focused on the upcoming elections, but that doesn not mean nothing else of importance was going on that impacts 50+ Pennsylvanians.  Here is a quick summary of a few items and issues we’ll talk about in depth over the coming weeks.
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Who would have known that the numbers 203, 105, 98, and 12 would play such an important role in the Pennsylvania elections this year? Of course 203 has an important role every two years – but there are 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives up for election on November 8. However, only 105 of those races have two major party candidates on the ballot for State Representative, while 98 of them have one candidate on the ballot or have a major party candidate facing only a third-party candidate. Lastly, there are only 12 days until Election Day on November 8, so if you aren’t a “Numbers Person” now is the time to change your mind!
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One-half of all Pennsylvanians will get to vote for their member of Pennsylvania State Senate this year.  The term of office for a State Senator is four years, and there are 50 State Senate seats, but only half of them are up for election every two years.
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In recent weeks many publications have touted Pennsylvania as the key state in this year’s  Presidential race.  We are also playing a “keystone” role in another important outcome of the November election – party control of the United States Senate.
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Last week we began a preview of the 2016 election in Pennsylvania with an overview of the statewide offices and a more detailed look at the Attorney General’s race. This week we will look more closely at the functions of the State Treasurer and the Auditor General, why these offices are important to you, and who the candidates are in the November election.
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During a year when so much attention is focused on the Presidential Election and the Federal Government, statewide offices in Pennsylvania might be overlooked by some.  However, the positions of Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer are important to all Pennsylvanians. These independent state agencies serve key functions that are not within the responsibilities of the Governor or General Assembly.
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The calendar has now moved past Labor Day and that means that election season is upon us.  It is hard not to pick up your remote or a newspaper without seeing a story about the Presidential election.  But it is not only the Presidency that is up for election this year. The results of the races for state and other federal offices will have a profound impact on Pennsylvanians, particularly older Pennsylvanians.
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