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Corbett Goes South Along with PA Job Creation

            Bad news continues to pile up for Pennsylvania workers, while the state’s economic leaders look to South America for answers.
            Figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor this week show Pennsylvania with the sharpest rise in new unemployment claims, while claims for the nation as a whole fell sharply.
            We need serious leadership and commitment right here at home.
We continue to fall behind the rest of the country in job creation while leading in unemployment claims and the answer isn’t going to be found thousands of miles from the cities, towns and schools that need help.  We have the ability, right here, to create a 21st century economy.
            New unemployment claims jumped by more than 3,000 in March, according the the Department of Labor.  U.S. unemployment claims dropped by more than 300,000.
            The news comes on top of reports that Pennsylvania has had a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the country for six consecutive months, after having a better jobless number for nearly four years.
            The last two years have been a disaster in terms of where we stand among states in our ability to create jobs and participate in the national recovery. Simple solutions, like investment in transportation infrastructure, schools and tax reform are collecting dust while administration officials and hand-picked friends are collecting souvenirs.  It’s unthinkable.
            In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, administration officials announced that a South American company will create 74 jobs in Central Pennsylvania.
            That probably didn’t go over very well with the 3,000 people who just filed for unemployment.

                   Lessons from a Convenience Store Restroom


A corporate convenience store chain is conducting a covert lobbying campaign from the walls of it's store restrooms.

            Most of the time, the messages I receive from constituents carry a lot of weight when important issues are debated in Harrisburg.
            But sometimes --  like the postcards now being peeled from restroom walls in convenience stores – I have to wonder how far big corporations will go to mask themselves as John Q. Public.
            When the subject of alcohol sales comes up in the Capitol, it brings with it some serious considerations about the way Pennsylvania does it now, and the unforseen consequences of making more alcohol more available in our communities.
            The Free-My-Beer people have a different take – it’s about the money.
            Free My Beer is a corporate public relations campaign thinly disguised as a populist movement.  The convenience store chain behind the ads has more than 400 stores and 14,000 low-wage employees.  Somehow, to them, beer sold by mom and pop distributorships is being held prisoner, while it could be free to be sold by minimum-wage clerks.
            It’s that scenario that has Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other public safety groups opposing the corporate profit-grab that massive expansion of beer sales entails.
            The Free-My-Beer folks have been putting posters in hundreds of their stores hoping to spark a grass-roots movement that simply isn’t there.  It’s a campaign so sophisticated that they have posted in their restrooms -- above uninals and in toilet stalls – stamped and addressed postcards that you can send your local lawmaker to convince him or her that alcohol should be sold by their minimum-wage clerks in their all-night stores.
            It’s a juvenile attempt at attention-getting, and it’s backfiring because it’s getting a lot of attention from juveniles.  It’s a reminder that wider availability of alchol brings beer advertising – where all the heavy drinkers are athletic, pretty and thin – to the eyes of a much younger audience than you will find in a PLCB store or a beer distributorship.
            I haven’t received a card from the Free My Beer restroom campaign yet.  In Philadelphia, we only have to drive across the river to see what private liquor sales looks like and it’s not pretty. 
            But if I do get one, I’m going to toss it where it belongs, wash my hands, and get back to the serious discussion of the serious questions surrounding alcohol sales.

Discussion of LCB Modernization Scheduled in Philly

           On Tuesda, April 23, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a roundtable discussion on a plan to modernize the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. The hearing will be held at Plumbers Union Local #690, 2791 Southampton Rd..






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