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State House GOP looks to borrowing, no new taxes to plug deficit

HARRISBURG — Up against an unprecedented cash crunch, Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives prepared a late Wednesday night vote on a no-new-taxes revenue package to help plug the state government’s $2.2 billion budget gap.

The House GOP’s package would rely on borrowing and siphoning cash from off-budget programs, including accounts for mass transit, environmental protection and economic development. If it passes, it is a small step toward a resolution of Pennsylvania’s budget stalemate, now in its third month.

It is opposed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and its fate is questionable in the Republican-controlled Senate, which passed a $500 million-plus tax package in July to help fully fund a $32 billion spending agreement approved overwhelmingly by both chambers and supported by Wolf.

The House had scheduled a vote for about 10 p.m., too late for this edition of The Sentinel.

With the state’s main bank account scraping bottom, the GOP plan also will provide no relief before Friday, when Wolf has said he will be unable to pay bills on time. It would be the first time Pennsylvania state government has missed a payment as a result of not having enough cash, state officials said.

This latest House GOP plan came together overnight Tuesday, and followed the collapse of earlier plans proposed since June. House GOP backers said they believed they had scraped up enough support from a caucus that has been deeply divided between anti-tax conservatives and moderates from southeastern Pennsylvania who say a tax increase is necessary to stitch together the state’s threadbare finances.

In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, Wolf’s office slammed the House GOP’s package as failing to solve the state’s underlying fiscal problems.

It would leave the state with another $700 million deficit next year and inflict “significant, damaging cuts to transportation, recreation, public safety and environmental programs,” his office said.

Democratic lawmakers warned that a downgrade to the state’s battered credit rating is also in the offing.

The revamped package relies on borrowing $1 billion against future revenue from Pennsylvania’s share of 1998’s multistate settlement with tobacco companies and diverting $600 million-plus from off-budget programs.

It also would count on hundreds of millions of dollars more in unused program money from state programs, money that the Wolf administration says does not entirely exist, and the potential for license fees should the state allow another expansion of casino-style gambling.

Since the recession, Pennsylvania state government has reliably bailed out its deficit-ridden finances by borrowing money from the state treasury or a bank during periods when tax collections are slow.

However, this year, Pennsylvania’s two independently elected fiscal officers — Treasurer Joe Torsella and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, both Democrats — have refused to sign off on the sort of borrowing that would be necessary for Wolf’s administration to pay its bills on time.

Ahead of Friday, Wolf’s administration has told the eight insurers that administer benefits for 2.2 million Medicaid enrollees that they may not receive their monthly payments of about $800 million on time.

National Merit semifinalists announced for Midstate schools

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced the names Tuesday of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These high school seniors have an opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2018 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

Here are semifinalists selected from Sentinel area schools:

Camp Hill High School

Burns, Angela E.

Carlisle High School

Checkett, Aidan J.

Cumberland Valley High School

Chemmanoor, Thomas P.

Dengler, John T.

Gupta, Harshita

Haver, John F.

Nawaz, Haroon M.

Negandhi, Krittika H.

Su, Anthony M.

East Pennsboro High School

DeMarchis, Nicholas E.

Harrisburg Academy

Chaddock, William H.

Northern High School

Cornett, Hannah K.

Red Land High School

Smith, Erin C.

Trinity High School

DeFrancesco, Cora A.

Novacich, Jared W.

Weiss, Laura I.

Witten, Elizabeth A.

West Shore Christian Academy

Werner, Reagan H.

Sentinel fire calls for Sept. 12

Tuesday, Sept. 12

2:32 a.m.: second alarm structure fire, Pleasant View Drive, Mechanicsburg; New Cumberland, Lower Allen, West Shore, Camp Hill, Enola, Northeast Fire & Rescue, Shiremanstown, Upper Allen, Monroe, Citizens-Mechanicsburg, Washington, Hampden, Silver Spring, New Kingstown, Citizen-Mount Holly Springs, Naval Inventory Control Point, North Middleton, Carlisle Fire & Rescue Services, West End, Marysville

7:36 a.m.: automatic fire alarm, Poplar Church Road, East Pennsboro Township; Enola, Northeast Fire & Rescue, Creekside

10:22 a.m.: automatic fire alarm, Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg; Vigilant, Cumberland Valley, West End

4:06 p.m.: auto accident, Wertzville Road at Valley Road, Hampden Township; Hampden

6:35 p.m.: fire police, Centerville Road, Penn Township; Penn

6:40 p.m.: nonstructure fire, East Garland Drive, Carlisle; Union

8:35 p.m.: nonstructure accident, North 21st Street, East Pennsboro Township; Enola, Creekside

10:58 p.m.: auto accident, Newville Road, West Pennsboro Township; Union, Carlisle Fire & Rescue Services, West Pennsboro


A story in Tuesday’s Sentinel about author Charlotte Leisenring’s new book, “Drip! Drip! Drop!,” contained incorrect information.

The correct website for the book is

Also, the author’s book signing event at Create-A-Palooza will be held Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to noon.

The Sentinel regrets the error.

Sentinel police log for Sept. 13

State Police at Carlisle (717-249-2121)

Derek G. Ammerman, 25, of Mount Holly Springs, was charged with four counts of use/possession of drug paraphernalia, one count of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, two counts of theft by unlawful taking, and one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle after a Sept. 3 incident at 10:46 p.m. All charges are misdemeanors. Police said Ammerman stole cash, a cellphone and the keys to a vehicle belonging to a Mount Holly Springs woman. He also is accused of punching a hole in the living room wall of the home. He then drove the woman’s vehicle without permission, and returned to the residence, police said. He was found to be under the influence of drugs, and drug paraphernalia was found in the vehicle. He is being held in Cumberland County Prison on $20,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 22 in front of Magesterial District Judge Susan Day.

Tyrie Namone Miller, 32, of Dillsburg was charged with misdemeanor simple assault and disorderly conduct after an incident at 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 23. Police said the victim and his ex-girlfriend were having an argument in the 600 block of Forge Road, South Middleton Township, when Miller pulled a pistol BB gun out of his waist band and held it by his side. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 11 in front of Magisterial District Judge Susan Day.

Police are seeking information on a hit-and-run crash at Good Shepherd Church in the 2100 block of Ritner Highway, West Pennsboro Township. Police said a Coachman motorhome with Indiana registration drove through the parking lot of the church at 2:50 p.m. Sept. 11. The drive attempted to go under an awning, but hit the awning, damaging the awning and the top front of the vehicle.

Cash and firearms were taken from a residence in Upper Mifflin Township around noon on Jan. 1.

An unknown man stole several pieces of fruit from a farm stand in the 800 block of Greenspring Road, North Newton Township, at 2 p.m. Sept. 12.

Wednesday lottery

Pick 2

Midday — 0-1

Straight — $50

Boxed — $25

Evening — 6-3

Straight — $50

Boxed — $25

Pick 3

Midday — 3-1-9

Straight — $250

Boxed — $40

Evening — 8-2-9

Straight — $250

Boxed — $40

Pick 4

Midday — 5-8-8-4

Straight — $2,500

Boxed —$200

Evening — 3-1-4-1

Straight — $2,500

Boxed —$200

Pick 5

Midday — 3-7-9-3-0

Straight — $50,000

Boxed — $850

Evening — 0-1-0-9-2

Straight — $50,000

Boxed — $850

Wild Ball

Midday — 6

Evening — 7 Treasure Hunt


No player matched 5

115 players matched 4, receiving $100

2,795 players matched 3, receiving $6

20,936 players matched 2, receiving $1

Jackpot— $120,000

Cash 5


1 player matched 5, receiving $125,000

68 players matched 4, receiving $140

2,045 players matched 3, receiving $7.50

20,622 players matched 2, receiving $1

Jackpot — $125,000

Match 6


Jackpot — $680,000

Mega Millions


Mega Ball — 03

Jackpot — $86 million


Powerball numbers were not available for this edition.