In case you missed it: This week’s best reads from Pa. cities

     In this file image, a runner jogs beneath an overpass on the Schuylkill Banks path in Philadelphia, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    In this file image, a runner jogs beneath an overpass on the Schuylkill Banks path in Philadelphia, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    The ink is barely dry on last year’s election and we’re already gearing up for the next round. 

    2016 is dead. Long live 2017. 

    We spent all of 2016 participating in a drawn out campaign season. Now that it’s 2017, it only makes sense that we’d start planning for the next one. 

    Governor Tom Wolf is up for re-election in 2018 and his first competitor just entered the ring. Republican state Senator Scott Wagner, a trash-hauling magnate known for speaking his mind, will go up against the vulnerable incumbent Democrat. 

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    Some mayoral races are already heating up as well. In Harrisburg, Mayor Eric Papenfuse announced he’d be running again. In his announcement, he criticized his opponent and said he’d allow PennLive, the local newspaper, back into press briefings. Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto is also back in the running. Meanwhile, in Lancaster, Mayor Rick Gray has announced he’s done with politics. He won’t be running for re-election. 

    The next presidential election will look a little different in the Keystone State. Pennsylvania stands to lose an electoral vote (or even two) due to population decline. 

    The era of President-elect Trump is nearly over. Welcome: President Trump. 

    The effects of the 2016 election will be felt for years, if not decades, to come. Since the election, Philadelphia has seen the number of hate crimes reported rise significantly, according to the city. State College has changed it’s policy to be more welcoming to immigrants, legal or otherwise

    And everyone is waiting to see what President Trump will do about infrastructure. In 2014, Pennsylvania became known for having more structurally deficient bridges than any state in the country, so finding a way to fund infrastructure improvements is of tantamount importance. But Trump’s plan to bring private equity to the table looks a lot like a failed plan Pennsylvania tried during the Ed Rendell administration. 

    In a press conference Wednesday, Trump promised his administration would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act as soon as his Health and Human Services secretary was confirmed. It’s not clear what that will mean for the millions of Pennsylvanian’s on Obamacare — including those who signed up since the election. 

    More money, fewer problems. 

    This week, Governor Wolf made two controversial announcements that stemmed from the need for budget cuts.

    Two state prisons will be closed by the end of June — from a list of five possible institutions. Prison employees, families and elected leaders are scrambling to make the case for their prison to stay open. 

    Meanwhile, two state institutions for those with intellectual disabilities and mental illness are closing as well. 

    The state is trying to close a $200 million budget deficit without cutting essential services. PublicSource has one possible area for trims: the state’s film industry tax credit. They found that most of the tax credits go towards Pennsylvania productions, rather than attracting outside money, and the funding tends to be wasted in transaction fees and sales. 

    Tax incentive programs are a tricky thing. Besides being an alphabet soup of acronyms, they get mixed results. Some, like the Neighborhood Assistance Program, accomplish their goal. Others, like the Keystone Opportunity Zone, are in jeopardy. 

    Cities are struggling right along with the state. Municipalities across the state passed new budgets at the end of the year. This process revealed signs of light for some, like a chance to get out of Act 47. But others were hampered by recent gaming changes that cut funds to host communities or were forced to rely on asset monetization to make ends meet. 

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