Guv: Tax plan's kaput for now

Gov. Rendell acknowledged yesterday that his plan to reduce Pennsylvania's sales tax and boost revenue by extending it to more goods and services is doomed, at least in this election year.

"It's just very complex and you'd be stepping on the toes of a lot of special interests. I don't think there's an appetite to do that this year," he said at a Capitol news briefing.

In his February budget address, Rendell advocated cutting the tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent and extending it to dozens of things that are now exempt, including many professional services, home electric bills, candy, firewood and personal hygiene products. Purchases of groceries, clothing and prescription drugs would remain exempt.

2 men shot in N. Phila.

Two men were wounded, one critically, in a double shooting about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at Carlisle and Clearfield streets in North Philadelphia, police said.

An 18-year-old man who was shot six times in the abdomen was in critical condition at Temple University Hospital and a 49-year-old old man who was shot once in the leg was in stable condition there, police said.

They said that the 18-year-old appeared to be the intended target and that the 49-year-old was the victim of a stray bullet.

Gas bills to drop a bit

The Philadelphia Gas Works announced that it will decrease what residential customers pay for natural gas. The average residential customer will pay about $2.37 less per month for the next three months, a 5-percent decrease. What PGW pays for natural gas is passed on to the customer without markup.

Residential heating customers will pay $1.49 per one hundred cubic feet (Ccf) of natural gas beginning June 1. The new cost for gas will change from $1.59 per Ccf to $1.49 per Ccf. The price for PGW's commercial, industrial and municipal customers will also decrease on June 1.

Facing sewage-dumping rap

Michael Maftin, former operator of the Green Lane Marlborough Joint Authority waste-

water-treatment plant in Montgomery County, has been charged with allowing untreated sewage to be discharged in the Perkiomen Creek over five years and for submitting fabricated reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection, the state Attorney General's Office said yesterday.

He was released on $30,000 unsecured bail.

Sleepy traveler suing airline

The Michigan woman who was left sleeping on a United Express plane at Philadelphia International Airport for three hours after the plane landed early Tuesday is suing the airline.

Ginger McGuire filed suit against United Airlines in Wayne County Court in Detroit for false imprisonment.

McGuire said that Philadelphia police arrived after she woke up and demanded to see her identification. She contends that the flight crew was negligent for not waking her.

- Staff and wire report