WEATHER: Philadelphia, mostly sunny, high of 46; Harrisburg, cloudy, high of 42; Pittsburgh, a.m. snow showers, high of 36.
 

NEW FROM CITY&STATE:

* City&State profiles the growing grassroots movement behind a push to abolish property taxes in Pennsylvania – and why 2017 might be their year, for better or worse.

* Ending weeks of controversy with anxious legislators, the Wolf administration will ultimately shutter a single correctional facility – SCI Pittsburgh.

* At Philadelphia’s first City Council session of 2017, Council President Darrell Clarke called for hearings on auctions of city-owned land that bypass the still untested “Land Bank” sale process.

* Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill to require annual ethics training for council and their staff – although he was a little unsure of the current requirements and offerings.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* At the Philadelphia GOP retreat, President Donald Trump told congressional leaders “we have to deliver” on campaign promises, according to Reuters.

* Trump’s visit to PA also drew thousands of protesters who marched on city streets into the night, the Washington Post reports.

* Reacting to his early moves as president, Council President Clarke told Inquirer reporters that Trump doesn’t care about Philadelphia.

* A federal bribery case against state Sen. Larry Farnese may be collapsing as the judge openly commented on the unusually “strong” nature of defense arguments, the Inquirer reports.

* A new financial report traces a possible $3 billion state budget deficit, exceeding already gloomy projections about Harrisburg’s finances, writes the Reading Eagle.

* An “unprecedented” number of women are looking to run for public office in Pennsylvania, WHYY writes.

* In the Daily News, towing baron Lew Blum tells Philly’s City Council to “stop calling us thieves” after legislators passed new regulations cracking down on rogue tow trucks.

* AG Josh Shapiro asked every member of his office to sign a new “code of conduct” in another step to move on from its recent troubled history, the Patriot News reports.

* Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski tells the Morning Call that he likes the look of an increasingly crowded field of primary challengers.

* PA’s University Chancellor warned of a dire future for PA’s college system due to declining enrollments and rising costs, the Patriot News reports.

* A new report highlights the need for $5 billion to repair crumbling public school buildings in Philadelphia, according to WHYY.

 

What’s your issue?

Whatever it is, First Read gives you the platform and microphone to promote it – first thing in the morning. Every day, Pennsylvania elected officials, policy experts, lobbyists and staff check City & State’s First Read. Get their attention…right here.

To use First Read’s power and reach, contact David Alpher: publisher@cityandstatepa.com, or call 215-490-9314 ext. 3001.

 

EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The Post-Gazette unequivocally backs the decision to close SCI Pittsburgh.

* The Citizens’ Voice cautions proponents of the four other prisons spared the axe that based on yesterday’s Independent Fiscal Office Report, their time may soon come as well.

* The Inquirer makes it clear that gun violence in Philadelphia will be a focal point for the paper in 2017, as it lists the victims killed in the past week.

* WHYY’s Dick Polman unpacks the panoply of reasons why Trump’s continued fixation on the US failure to “take back the oil” in Iraq is delusional.

* The Times-News applauds a new program that will bring fresh produce to Erie’s small grocery stores – a small step to reduce the size of the city’s “food desert.”

* The Times-Tribune dismisses critics of Philadelphia’s new law restricting employers from asking about a prospective employee’s wage history, calling it a victory for wage equality.

* The Daily Times welcomes the expansion of the Chester Police by eight additional officers, noting they couldn’t have joined at a better time.

* The Tribune-Democrat explores the deep need in Cambria County that has been filled by the opening of its child advocacy center.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday at editor@cityandstatepa.com

 

TODAY’S SKED: 

11:15 a.m. - Mayor Kenney, CEO of CWFI Mary Arthur, Councilman Allan Domb, City Officials and a representative from the IRS will raise awareness for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) among potentially eligible taxpayers. Mount Pisgha AME Church, 428 N. 41st St., Philadelphia.

11:30 a.m. - Gov. Wolf will host a discussion on the opioid abuse epidemic. Mount Pocono Medical, 1151 Pocono Blvd., Mt. Pocono.

8 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will provide remarks at the 2017 Alegria Ball and Hispanic Business Awards, celebrating 27 years of the Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Curtis Center, 601 Walnut Street, First Floor, Philadelphia. 

 

To have your events included in Today’s Sked, please email information to editor@cityandstatepa.com

 

KICKER: “I don’t get a sense that (Trump) cares. … You’re talking about an individual who is going to be the attorney general (Sen. Jeff Sessions) who, frankly speaking, has always been against civil rights. How do you think I feel as an African American in the city of Philadelphia?” – Philadelphia Council President Darrell Clarke, on Trump. From the Inquirer.