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Sunday pops

| Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
The Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.

The annual budget and economic outlook report from Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office projects state deficits for the next five years — nearly $1 billion in 2018-19, possibly $2 billion-plus by 2023 — while spending grows 3.8 percent but revenue grows just 1.7 percent annually. The Commonwealth Foundation notes demographics also drive deficit projections: The IFO says Pennsylvania had 3.9 workers for each retirement-age person in 2010, but will have just 2.4 by 2030. Looks like budget woes are here to stay — unless Harrisburg solves its spending problem. … PennLive reports that Lycoming County's controller has spent almost $4,300 appealing a Common Pleas judge's order to reimburse a probation officer $60 for pants ruined on the job. The controller did reimburse the probation officer, as a “fringe benefit” with taxes taken out. But her appeal, contending the judge ordered reimbursement from money that can't be used for that purpose, continues before Commonwealth Court. File this one under “Penny-Wise but Pound-Foolish.” … November, when State Farm says auto-deer collision claims peak, is over. But don't let your guard down at the wheel — particularly if you're behind a truck. On Nov. 20, a garbage truck lost part of its load just before and inside the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, knotting traffic for hours while PennDOT played trash collector. The next day, about 32,000 pounds of boxed chocolate toppled from a truck that slid off a Washington County road. Even if the spilled cargo's sweet, dealing with such seemingly avoidable mishaps is anything but.

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