I reached down and felt the ground. It didn’t feel like hell had frozen over.
But maybe I’m wrong.
The Northeast Pennsylvania Tea Party is launching robo-calls, bashing congressmen Tom Marino, R-10, of Cogan Station, and Lou Barletta, R-9, of Hazleton, diehard conservative Republicans who have often identified themselves as members of the Tea Party.
In fact, it’s their Tea-esque rhetoric that helped get them elected, many observers have said.
So, why would the herd be turning against their own?
Two words: Natural gas.
PoliticsPA reports that Marino and Barletta are co-sponsors of legislation — H.R. 1380, the NAT GAS Act — that would create tax incentives and subsidies to encourage the use and production of natural gas vehicles.
“We were fans of Barletta and Marino,” NEPA Tea Party leader Bob Orbin told PoliticsPA. “And it’s disappointing to see them backing these types of plans whey they say they back the free market.”
When Marino was in to speak with us about a month ago, he came off as being a huge backer of the free market. But he also was an even bigger backer of creating jobs and encouraging the natural gas industry.
Marcellus Shale, where much of the gas boom in Pennsylvania is coming from, is the future, he said.
Heck, even Sen. Pat Toomey, also a conservative Republican, said he’d back similar legislation that encouraged creating natural gas stations. He told us so, on camera, when he stopped in a few weeks ago.
With unemployment running nearly 9 percent in the Central Susquehanna Valley, I can certainly see why our lawmakers are backing anything that supports Marcellus Shale jobs.
So, why is the Tea Party against the bill?
It’s likely going to cost $5 billion in subsidies over five years, according to website OpenCongress.org.
In an email to Marino and Barletta, the Tea Partiers said that’s too much.
“The national debt is now over $14 trillion, which will soon to be over $17 trillion; and, with the federal government having to borrow over 40 percent of every dollar spent … the Tea Party and the conservative movement did not send conservative members to Washington, D.C., to have them ‘gift’ taxpayer dollars (in the form of subsidies) to political entrepreneurs like T. Boone Pickens or to further interfere with the free market.”
Keller on YouTube
State Rep. Fred Keller, R-85, of Kreamer, was giving it to some labor union leaders last week during a state House Labor and Industry Committee hearing.
Keller in April proposed legislation — H.B. 1329 — targeting the prevailing wage law. That law set “prevailing” minimum wage rates that must be paid on public construction projects. The rates established under the act often reflect union wage rates and may not be representative of the actual wage rates paid on most private sector construction projects in a municipality.
Municipal and school district officials have been screaming about the law for decades, saying it is needlessly bumping up the cost of new construction and forcing tax increases.
To check out some of Kellers questions and statements to union leaders, visit www.repfredkeller.com, then mouse over “Latest News” on the left side and click on “video.”
County commissioner forum
The Susquehanna Valley Conservatives are hosting a forum for the Northumberland County commissioner candidates at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and the public is invited to come and ask questions.
The lineup will include Republican incumbent Merle Phillips and challenger Rick Shoch; Democratic incumbents Vinny Clausi and Frank Sawicki; and independent candidate Stephen Bridy.
All five have committed to attending, group organizers said.
Bob Harder, a member of the SVC’s planning committee, said there will be time for questions from the public.
“Residents of Northumberland County are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting because of the many important decisions that are made by their elected officials,” he said.
The meeting will be in the Baylor West Conference Room at the Best Western Country Cupboard Inn, Lewisburg.
Why Lewisburg, when the race is in Northumberland County?
Because the conservatives have the room reserved monthly for their meetings.
Why waste money?
I reached down and felt the ground. It didn’t feel like hell had frozen over.
Police detail threats in kidnap case
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