News & Brews June 29, 2021

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Budget trade: School aid for overtime rule

The AP reports, “A key trade that sealed a budget deal between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republicans who control the Legislature was a $100 million injection of cash into Pennsylvania’s poorest public schools in exchange for the governor backing off a regulatory expansion of eligibility for overtime pay.” Wolf had been pushing the overtime expansion for some time, and in January of last year, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission voted 3-2 to side with Wolf. The regulation, which the budget deal nixed, would have begun taking effect in October.

Tax credit scholarship program gets $40 million boost in state budget

I mentioned this boost for tax credit scholarships yesterday, but the Center Square takes a closer look at the increase, including how many additional scholarships will be provided and the work that remains to be done to ensure every child has access to an education that meets his or her needs.

Revived hope for cocktails-to-go?

PennLive reports that Sen. Scott Martin (Lancaster County) is taking “a shot” at reviving cocktails-to-go legislation this summer. (Who doesn’t love a good pun?) Yesterday, I shared that it appeared efforts to make cocktails-to-go permanent were dead until at least the fall. But Martin has asked Senate leadership to call members back into session to act on the legislation by Wednesday, which is when a rule allowing them to vote remotely expires. Senate leaders have not yet indicated if they will comply with Martin’s request.

Public school enrollment nationwide dropped 3% in 2020-21

The 74 Million reports that recently released preliminary data shows the number of children attending K-12 public schools across the country dropped by 1.5 million, or 3%, in 2020-21 compared with the previous year. In PA, the percent drop was 1.62%.The piece notes that “the disruptions triggered by COVID-19 and remote learning drove many families to switch to private schools or homeschooling.” It remains to be seen how many of these children will return to public schools.

Op-Ed: Another middle-class family says goodbye to NJ

My colleague Abhi Samuel, who is the director of entrepreneur engagement here at Commonwealth Partners, has an op-ed in Broad + Liberty on why he and his family are pulling up Jersey roots and moving to PA. But there’s a cautionary tale for the commonwealth here. While PA is much more taxpayer friendly than Jersey, this is a pretty low bar (I say this as a Jersey native myself). Indeed, lots of folks are also leaving PA for even greener pastures, and we’ve still got work to do to make our state more family-budget-friendly not just in comparison to Jersey or New York, but on national scale.

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