News & Brews February 16, 2021

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State GOP may censure Toomey over impeachment vote

The state Republican Party is reportedly planning a meeting to consider censuring Sen. Pat Toomey over his vote to convict former President Trump during his latest impeachment trial. The AP reports the move comes “amid a growing GOP backlash” over Toomey’s vote. Indeed, several county GOP parties across the state have already taken steps to censure Toomey.

Sims announces LG bid

Democrat Rep. Brian Sims (Philadelphia) announced yesterday that he’s running for lieutenant governor. In a video message, Sims stated, “We need adults in the room, and I want to bring bold visionary leadership based on lived experiences and shared values to the Commonwealth.” Sims came under fire in 2019 for offering $100 to anyone who would publish private and identifying information on three teenage girlswho were praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. How very adult of him.

Op-Ed: Pro-growth policies will move PA forward

Gene Barr, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, had an op-ed in the York Daily Record offering an alternative to Gov. Wolf’s business-crushing budget proposal. Instead of making PA less competitive, Barr says the state should embrace “[c]ommonsense reforms — such as targeted COVID liability protections; streamlining and simplifying the state’s tax code; reducing regulatory burdens; and creating greater government efficiency and connectivity.”

‘Eds & Meds’ political realignment changing the suburbs

Charles McElwee, managing editor at the Commonwealth Foundation and editor of RealClear’s public affairs page on Pennsylania, took a fascinating look at the “eds and meds” political shift happening in the PA suburbs. His launching point is Wyomissing in Berks County, a borough where “[c]urving boulevards and tidy avenues, canopied by trees, feature beautiful housing amid parks and trails.” And where the once Republican-leaning voters favored Joe Biden in November.

Should PA raise taxes to boost education funding?

The Philadelphia Inquirer published dueling op-eds answering this question. On the “yes” side, Pennsylvania Executive Director of Teach Plus Laura Boyce says PA schools are underfunded by at least $4.6 billion. (Notably, PA spends nearly $18,000 per student, about $4,000 more than the national average. And schools are sitting on approximately $4.6 billion in reserve funds. How curious.) On the “no” side, the Commonwealth Foundation’s Jennifer Stefano says the problem isn’t funding itself but rather that “the money is in the wrong hands. Instead of money following the child—and parents controlling where and how the money is spent—the dollars sit in an antiquated bureaucracy that’s beholden to public teachers’ unions.” Read both pieces here.

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