One of the best places to live in the U.S.? York!

York Dispatch editorial board

Thumbs up for the city of York for earning a spot on the latest list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-23 by U.S. News and World Report.

Sometimes, it takes an outside pair of eyes to see all that a community has to offer. The U.S. News writers do a great job of reminding us of York’s many amenities, placing it at number 92 in their list of 150 desirable locales. They cite the city’s deep historical roots, along with its vibrant retail and entertainment offerings.

“York’s shops, high-end apartments and special events — along with a flourishing arts community — have led to downtown living verging on trendy,” the magazine wrote, “and a growing number of visitors to the WeCo, Market and Royal Square districts that make up York’s major activity centers.”

Also coming in for nods of approval are the Central Market, theaters and arts venues, restaurants and craft breweries, York Revolution baseball and the York Fair. There’s even an attractive photo package.

York County celebrates it's 270th birthday by lighting the domes on top of the York County Administrative Center, Monday, August 19, 2019. The lighting of the domes concluded a day of tours of the center and the ringing of the bells.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The city, which joined five other Pennsylvania municipalities in the top 100 (Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading and Scranton), was also deemed the 17th best place to retire.

Thumbs down for Sen. Pat Toomey’s role in efforts that briefly derailed a bill to expand medical aid to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals emanating from burning trash pits while deployed overseas.

The measure, which had widespread congressional support, was unexpectedly defeated last week when a group of Republican senators who had previously backed it abruptly reversed course. Toomey led arguments that the bill could open the door to unrelated spending, and that its funding should be capped and converted to discretionary — rather than guaranteed — status after 10 years.

To make matters worse, Toomey was seen on the Senate floor standing by while colleague Sen. Ted Cruz engaged in celebratory first-bumps after the bill’s defeat. Talk about adding insult to injury.

After a weekend of unsuccessfully defending their position amid public pressure led by veterans’ groups and comedian Jon Stewart, a contingent of Republicans relented and the Senate passed the bill Tuesday evening with broad bipartisan support.

Among the 11 Republican holdouts: Pat Toomey.

Thumbs up, albeit less than enthusiastically, for the first minimum-wage increase Pennsylvania has seen in more than a dozen years.

A measure that goes into effect on Friday will raise the amount of money the state’s tipped workers — bartenders, wait staff and the like — can receive before their hourly salaries are affected. Employees will now be able to earn $135 a month in tips before employers can reduce their salaries from the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to as low as $2.83 an hour. The outgoing limit, in place since 1977, is $30.

A number of other provisions, intended to align state law with federal regulations on practices such as tip-pooling and tip credits, will also go into effect.

On the one hand, any improvement to Pennsylvania’s miserly minimum wage, last increased in 2009, is welcome news. On the other, this relatively minor uptick benefits only a small fraction of state workers, and only marginally.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Democrats in the statehouse have consistently pushed for increases, including this summer in the face of rising consumer costs, but GOP leaders have balked.

It’s ironic: Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls have risen every year since 2009, but the minimum wage has not gone up a penny.