HIT: Despite having once been a destination for immigrants from all over the world, the Pittsburgh region has been noted in recent decades for its lack of diversity. However, one community is bucking that trend. As we reported Monday, South Fayette Township has a flourishing population of families who have roots in India. They are drawn to South Fayette by the quality of the schools, the new housing stock and the proximity to jobs in Pittsburgh and Southpointe. While they still appreciate the food, sports and pop culture of their homeland, they are also as American as anyone whose family has been here for generations. They enliven the area’s culture and make valuable contributions to our economy. We should welcome them here.
HIT: The Trump administration’s efforts to keep refugees out of the United States will not be remembered kindly by history. Last month, the administration drastically cut the number of refugees allowed in the United States and is giving local and state governments the authority to refuse to accept them. But Gov. Tom Wolf said he will not be using that authority and Pennsylvania will remain a place that will welcome those fleeing danger and persecution. In a letter to President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Wolf said, “For decades, refugees have made our communities better, and I am committed to continuing that tradition to the fullest extent of my ability. In communities from Allentown to Lancaster to Erie, and elsewhere, refugees are resettling, making a home, finding employment, starting businesses, paying taxes and enriching their communities.” Wolf’s steadfast refusal to succumb to xenophobia is to be commended.
MISS: It’s been a rough couple of months for birds. First, the journal Science reported in September that the overall bird population in North America has declined by 29% since 1970. Then, the National Audobon Society recently released a report indicating that two-thirds of North American birds are at risk due to climate change. Forty-one of 80 species of birds in Pennsylvania are pegged as “climate vulnerable” in the report, including the ruffed grouse, the state bird. Other species at risk include the cerulean warbler, Eastern whip-poor-will and the brown thrasher. The projected loss of birds could be curtailed if temperatures only rise by the end of this century by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Limiting the rise in temperatures hinges on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions significantly, to the point where we are at zero carbon emissions by 2050. We need to get to work.
HIT: With its aging population, infrastructure needs, revenue-starved colleges and a whole host of other programs and institutions that should be funded, Pennsylvania can use all the revenue it can get. And it will be getting a little bit more as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Starting in 2020, the commonwealth will be collecting corporate income taxes from companies that don’t have personnel or property in the state. These companies will have to pay Pennsylvania’s net corporate income tax starting next year if they notch more than $500,000 in sales here. Pennsylvania is one of the last states to make this change, and it’s about time.