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Pennsylvania and New Jersey hold elections; Bucks County man hit with $1.6 million tax bill | Morning Newsletter

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Have you voted yet? In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you have until the polls close at 8 p.m. There might be some rain this morning, so remember to stay dry out there. Also in today’s newsletter, we look at why a man who sells things on Amazon got a $1.6 million tax bill from the State of California, and we outline the latest clash between the region’s two top prosecutors.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

It’s Election Day across the Philadelphia region. Polls opened at 6 a.m. in New Jersey, where all 80 Assembly seats are up for grabs. And in Pennsylvania, voting had a 7 a.m. start, with a variety of municipal races on ballots and a statewide election for two judges for Superior Court. In the city, Philadelphia’s mayor and Council seats are up for grabs.

In both states, the polls close at 8 p.m. Be sure to stick with us throughout the day for election updates, and later on as race results come in.

Plus, a number of questions you might have about voting are in our voters guide. For example:

✅How do I find my polling place?

✅What races are on my ballot? Who are the candidates?

✅What do I do if I’m having problems at the polls?

A man who sells clothes, shoes, and groceries on Amazon out of a small warehouse in Bensalem has been caught in what his tax lawyer called “an interstate commerce speed trap.” He got a jaw-dropping notice from California that he could owe as much as $1.6 million for sales taxes that he didn’t collect from consumers — and that’s just for the first six months of 2019.

California’s aggressive tax-collection move could be targeting hundreds of thousands of third-party merchants. And it’s an example of the government trying to catch up to new forms of commerce that at least appear to evade obligations under old laws.

What you need to know today

  1. There’s a roiling feud between the region’s two top prosecutors: U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. And on Monday, that feud got a new chapter with McSwain accusing Krasner’s office of enabling separate shootings last month that killed two children in Philadelphia.

  2. Three industrial businesses in Pennsylvania signed agreements with Ukraine in 2017 and 2018, under the leadership of then-President Petro Poroshenko, as his administration went on a charm offensive with Donald Trump.

  3. Two years after one of the most notorious crimes in the history of Bucks County, a trial is near to determine the fate of a man prosecutors say killed three of four victims on a farm: Sean Kratz, 22, of Northeast Philadelphia.

  4. The executive director of a multimillion-dollar initiative funded by Philadelphia’s tax on sweetened beverages resigned late last week, according to city officials.

  5. Pennsylvania has revoked Hahnemann University Hospital’s license. "I am deeply concerned about the state and security of the building and the supplies and equipment it is housing,” the Pennsylvania secretary of health said in a letter.

  6. A new poll looked at which Democrat was best positioned to beat Trump in Pennsylvania and other key states. In a hypothetical general election match up, one of the front-runners performed better than others.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

It looks like you snagged this pic when the building wasn’t spewing water into the air this weekend. Really cool pic, @scapesbybimal.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting

  1. Things could change between now and later this week, but the weather service says there’s a chance of ❄️snow❄️ Thursday night into Friday morning in parts of the region.

  2. With a national decline in fishing, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has hatched a plan to breed prized trout to lure more anglers to the sport. More anglers mean more revenue from licenses, which helps feed conservation programs. So, don’t be surprised if you see some big golden rainbow trout in Philadelphia-area creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes next year.

  3. Loneliness is a growing public health concern in the United States, and Penn researchers are turning to Twitter to see if they can identify markers of loneliness based on posts. They’re part of a group of scientists that are studying social media to identify early signs of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

  4. For the first time, a Pennsylvania casino has launched online poker games.

  5. Between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the 2019 tornado count has climbed to 43. While it’s not a record, it is the most we’ve seen in a year this century.

  6. Philadelphia is joining nearly 50 U.S. cities that will get special funding and support to try to decrease new HIV infections by 90% in the next 10 years.


“When we’re all looking over our shoulders, worrying about who might cancel us, we can’t learn from each other. We’re like actors in a bad play, mouthing words that we don’t always understand or even believe.” — Jonathan Zimmerman, who teaches education and history at Penn, about cancel culture.

  1. Extending Pa.'s voter registration will get more people to the ballot box, write Ben Geffen and Mimi McKenzie of the Public Interest Law Center.

  2. Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin is traveling to China to cover trade, tech, and the new cold war. She writes that it’s her “strangest trip in three decades.”

What we’re reading

  1. WHYY/Plan Philly covers ways that Philly is trying to both build and preserve affordable housing.

  2. Here’s how new tech complicated the life of “the porch pirate of Potrero Hill,” according to the Atlantic.

  3. The New Yorker writes about two very different and well-respected sports publications that have stopped existing in the ways we came to know and love them.

Your Daily Dose of | The UpSide

Bently, a 7-year-old bulldog, had been living in a concrete cell for three years, waiting to find a “forever home” after the PSPCA rescued him. It took a while for Bentley to warm up to visitors, but staff members knew there was a warm, kind heart inside the sometimes intimidating 100-pound dog.