Today is the start of a partial state government shut-down
triggered by ongoing budget battles between Governor Rendell and the state legislature (especially Senate Republicans).
While apologizing to state workers and residents for the action, the first furloughs in recent history, Rendell said he hoped that it was only a one-day situation. He said meetings would resume today between his office and key legislative leaders to try to reach an agreement.
Casinos were kept open by a special court order (every article cites the $1.7 million per day that closing their doors costs the state), but a hearing tomorrow will determine whether they continue to be exempted from the furloughs. "Shuttle diplomacy" between state leaders is ongoing, but apparently the current single sticking point is an electricity surcharge (averagine $5/year for most households) to help fund research into alternative energy sources. [This article ends with a list of services that will be open or closed during the furlough, so you can check before running any possibly fruitless errands.] More on the story here