Asking for Biden’s student loan relief? Pa. won’t tax you, says Wolf | Five for the weekend
Good weekend to all.
If you are one of the many Pennsylvanians who have already applied for the Biden administration’s student loan relief program (or if you intend to) and sweating about being hit by state taxes for any help you may receive, worry no more.
Friday, the Administration of wolves reminded the more than 1.7 million Pennsylvania borrowers eligible for the program that they will not have to pay any state taxes on the forgiveness – a position that is in agreement with the federal government and the other states.
Governor Tom Wolf announced the policy last year when opening nominations for the federal government Civil Service Loan Cancellation Program and the Pennsylvania student loan relief for nurses.
Switching to the latter programs was expected to save borrowers thousands of dollars in potential taxes. At the time, Wolf said he thought it was “Wrong to take what should be a blessing and make it just another burden.:
Borrowers applying for the new student loan program will save up to $614 in state taxes if they qualify for $20,000 in relief, the administration said.
“Student loan debt is holding us all back. Individuals, families and the Commonwealth as a whole. President Biden’s Student Debt Relief Plan is a weight taken off the shoulders and we will not be burdening Pennsylvanians who receive this relief with taxes at the state level,” Wolf said in a statement. “…I encourage everyone who is eligible to apply so you can breathe easier and pursue your dreams.”
Applications for the one-time relief are open until December 31. You can apply here.
As always, your five most-read stories of the week begin below.
1. As Wawa closes downtown stores, Philly DA Krasner plays defense
PHILADELPHIA CREAM – District Attorney Larry Krasner answered questions related to his office’s retail theft prosecution policy following Wawa’s recent announcement that it plans to close two of its downtown locations.
“For people who aren’t chronic, repeat, long-term, or organized retail thieves of amounts that aren’t high … we generally start these as summary offenses,” he said Monday during its weekly update on crimes committed with firearms.
A summary offense is described as “the most minor type of criminal offense in Pennsylvania,” where convictions typically carry fines and defendants aren’t always expected to set foot in court, according to Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
A summary offense can land retail thieves in jail for 90 days, however, the responsibility to charge people with summary offenses rests with the police, Krasner said.
“They have the filler function for summaries … and when this case comes to court, we’re the ones to pursue it in the courtroom,” Krasner said. “It’s been available to the Philadelphia Police Department in the past, but also available every five years, if there are police officers who don’t, I don’t know what to tell you.”
2. We are Pa. Clergy. Christian nationalism is not Christian. This is why | Opinion
Dear Christian brothers and sisters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
We write to you as Christian leaders called by God to serve the people of God and to witness to the love of Jesus and the grace of God in our lives. We put our trust in Jesus, just as you do, knowing that the earth belongs to the Lord and that each person is terribly and wonderfully created in the image of God.
We also appreciate our Commonwealth’s longstanding commitment to constitutional democracy and religious freedom. As Christians, we are concerned about a grave threat to our religious communities and to the well-being of all Pennsylvanians: Christian nationalism.
There has been much discussion in the media about Christian nationalism, often without clarity about its meaning. We define it as an ideology that “demands that Christianity be privileged by the state and implies that to be a good American, one must be a Christian. It often overlaps and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.
Many who propagate Christian nationalism seek to dismantle the franchise of Pennsylvanians, disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, people of color, women and LGBTQ people in order to advance their political agenda.
This is not the way of Christ.
3. Pa. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman wins Republican support in new ad campaign
John Fetterman’s latest round of campaign ads takes the standard format of voter testimonials and turns it on its head, with vignettes of Republican voters who say they prefer the blue-eyed Democratic lieutenant governor to his Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz .
“I’ve been a Republican all my life,” Montgomery County’s Vince Tulio says in a posted video on Fetterman’s Twitter account. Tulio says he will vote for Fetterman because the Democrat was born in Pennsylvania and has lived in the state his entire life. “I want to elect someone who has the best interests of everyone in Pennsylvania at heart, not when it’s convenient in an election year.”
In another video spot, Westmoreland County’s Colleen Bixler says she’s “tired of Washington Republicans and Mitch McConnell” and hits on a key message from the Fetterman campaign casting him as an outsider in Washington: “Fetterman doesn’t will not integrate in Washington. That’s the point.”
4. Oz clarifies views on abortion, Fetterman capitalizes on conflicting views in Senate race
Pennsylvania’s position as an abortion battleground state is taking shape in the US Senate race, with John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, capitalizing on conflicting statements by Mehmet Oz, his Republican opponent, in the high level competition.
Fetterman, who said he would Support codifying Roe v. Wade, if elected, has recently focused on Oz, who clarified his position on abortion this month, and his views on reproductive health.
Oz told reporters at a press conference in Philadelphia this month that he would not support criminal penalties for people who requested or doctors who performed abortions. Describing himself as “strongly pro-life”, he added that he supported exceptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger.
The clarification comes after audio from a tele-town hall, held a week before May’s primary election, resurfaced and fueled questions about Oz, who defended Roe against Wade in 2019,’s stance on access to abortion. In the recording, first reported by The Daily Beast, Oz said, “Life begins at conception.”
“If life begins at conception, why do you care what age the heart starts beating,” Oz added. “It’s, you know, it’s still murder if you had to terminate a child whether their heart beat or not.”
5. No, John Fetterman doesn’t wear a tie. And you have to stop talking about that | John L. Micek
So it’s not a “John Fetterman” column. And you know what we’re talking about here.
After more than two years on the statewide political scene, there is already a well-established journalistic shorthand for Pennsylvania’s new lieutenant governor.
It’s the foam, the rinse, the repeated formula of “black clothes, bald head, tattoos, my God, he’s tall but skinnier, cheerleader from the struggling steel town of Braddock, Pennsylvania.” which has launched a thousand profiles – including a recent one by NYMag.com.
And while all of this is true about Fetterman, it often feels like the media branding of Governor Tom Wolf’s second-in-command overshadows the actual human behind it.
He’s a guy who’s deeply intelligent and thoughtful, who leads by example public service, is clearly committed to a very specific vision of progressive public policy – but also has a mastery of “Cannonball Run” movies that borders on forensic medicine.
So, in short, one can’t help but wonder, does he ever get tired of being “John Fetterman?”
The answer came one snowy morning last week when Fetterman, dressed in, yes, that gray work shirt and black Dickies pants, held court in his Capitol office sandwiched between the House and Senate chambers. .
And this is the week. See you here on Monday. Have a good week-end.