I compared an ambitious tax proposal from Gov. Tom Wolf with a competing plan from members of the Republican Legislature with an interactive tax calculator. The story also showed how the Republican plan disproportionately benefited school districts with higher median property values while Wolf’s plan provided more property tax relief to poorer school districts. This story was PublicSource’s most republished story in 2015. It was picked up by 15 of our print partners with a combined audience of six million readers.
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Gov. Tom Wolf proposed ambitious changes to the state’s tax structure in his first budget address. Wolf proposed increases to the state’s income and sales tax while cutting property taxes. We wanted to show Allegheny County residents whether they would pay more under Wolf’s proposal with our tax calculator, which allowed a user to input their school district, marital status, income and property value.
Even though Tom Wolf had won the 2014 gubernatorial election, we thought it was important to point out the major corporations who had given money to his opponent during the campaign and were now giving to the Governor-elect after the election.
I did the data work and co-wrote this story that found nurses at nursing homes owned by Allegheny County were working the equivalent of 80 hours a week for an entire year. We found that with the amount of money that they were paying in overtime, they could hire 45 full-time nursing assistants. This story won the 2015 PICPA Truth in Finances Award.
Continuing our “Price of the Prize” coverage, we update the state of fundraising and television advertising a few days before the 2014 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election.
In conjunction with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PublicSource launched our 2014 campaign finance app “Price of the Prize” along with this story. I compiled and published campaign finance data for the Pennsylvania governor’s race and continued to track television advertising across 24 stations in Pennsylvania’s six TV markets. This series of stories won a second prize for enterprise reporting in the 2015 Pennsylvania SPJ Spotlight Awards. Our app “Price of the Prize” also won second place for web use in the Spotlight Awards.
There was lots of misinformation about the problems with Pittsburgh payroll system, so we decided to investigate and write an explainer. This story relied on documents from Pittsburgh and Allegheny County that showed the slow progress of the previous payroll vendor.
I worked with our criminal justice reporter to analyze the most recent four years of Pittsburgh crime stats at the neighborhood level. I converted the data from PDFs to a spreadsheet and wrote roughly half of the story that showed South Side Flats had the most crime since 2010.
As the first story in PublicSource’s coverage of money in the 2014 governor’s race, I show the early start that Tom Wolf got on the airwaves and the major sources of money for each candidate. Over the course of the election, I tracked ad spending on 24 TV stations in Pennsylvania’s six TV markets.
In my first story for PublicSource, I wrote an explainer about Pennsylvania’s oversight program for financially distressed cities. The financial oversight team was critical of Pittsburgh’s infrastructure, pension costs and record keeping.