Citizens for Tax Justice covers tax issues in Pennsylvania's upcoming gubernatorial election. I did not know, incidentally, that Pennsylvania's constitution bars a progressive income tax, which is largely why the state income tax rate is a flat 3%. Mr. Wolf, the Democratic nominee, has suggested raising the rate to 5% but exempting the first $30,000 of income, which would have a more progressive effect than the flat rate currently does; he also supports a 5% severance tax on gas drillers, which, as you may recall, the incumbent Gov. Corbett once called "un-American," which is what politicians like to call a lot of popular stuff.
Alex Ulam at The American Prospect notes that the mortgage interest deduction is rather more popular with the people than it is useful. It's actually fairly popular in my household, too, but when I think about it relatively objectively I can see no good reason to dump it -- I might lower the cap a bit more than Rep. Ellison would (he'd lower it from $1.1 million in mortgages to $500,000), but being mindful that a lot of middle-class folks are paying mortgages on housing bubble-priced homes, I wouldn't lower it that much more.
Another day, another story about birds catching fire as they fly over a solar plant, another time I feel compelled to add that we've read about this before, and it's not about the kind of solar panels you'd put on your roof, but a "solar plant" where mirrors reflect sunlight onto water boilers -- which, as I've said before, seems a rather roundabout way of creating "solar power." Why mirrors and not solar panels in one of the sunniest areas on Earth? A real solar farm would be harder to build, perhaps, but doing the right thing is always harder.
Arthur Delaney and Sam Stein catch Paul Ryan writing in his book calling the 2013 government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act a "suicide mission," without mentioning that he wanted to attach all kinds of other conditions to continued government funding at the time. In other words, he thought shutting down the government over health care was a bad idea, but shutting down the government in order to force more austerity on the American people was a good idea. Remember that when they try to shut down the government again before Election Day.
Finally, Kentucky blogger shows up at a town hall meeting with Sen. McConnell advertised to be open to the public, only to find that it's actually not open to the public. I'd say that's the kind of blunder that ends campaigns, but it didn't take down the aforementioned Mr. Ryan or Rep. Barletta (R-PA) when they charged admission fees to their town hall meetings back in 2011, and Uncle Mitch does have lots of campaign
free speech money to play with. Still, Alison Grimes should make sure this arrow's in her quiver.