News & Brews October 15, 2021

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PA School Board Association votes to leave national association

In some definite “wow” news, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) has voted unanimously to cancel its membership in the National School Boards Association (NSBA) after NSBA suggested some parents should be considered ‘domestic terrorists’. According to PSBA’s internal memo, shared by American Federation for Children National Director of Research Corey DeAngelis, “The value of the NSBA federation membership has been questioned numerous times over the past several years….The most recent national controversy surrounding a letter to President Biden suggesting that some parents should be considered domestic terrorists was the final straw.” PSBA represents 4,500 school board directors across Pennsylvania.

The elites really don’t like when anyone challenges them

Well, well. You’ve read in these emails about the newly formed Back to School PAC, focused on keeping kids in-school, in-person. We shared the story a few months ago that the PAC was expanding its efforts thanks to the support of venture capitalist Paul Martino, who committed $500,000 to the efforts. Well, let’s just say the Left is a little miffed. The Inquirer (one of the Left’s many papers of record, of course), has a story this morning on typical Leftist accusations against Martino. Here’s the kicker, in comparing its own PAC to the Back to School PAC, the PSEA (the state’s largest teachers’ union, which of course hates the Back to School PAC) had this to say: “When you think about the two PACs, one is being funded by teachers and bus drivers and cafeteria workers. And then you have a rather large check on the other side.” You’ve got to be kidding me. First of all, PSEA gets its funds by forcibly taking money from the paychecks of teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. Plus, since 2010, the PSEA’s poor little PAC has spent more than $16.5 million on politics, per campaign finance reports. In 2020-21 alone, that figure is more than $2.3 million. But don’t think the Inky pointed this out. Nope. Not at all.

40 years, 13 miles, and $900 million

It took 410 days to build the Empire State Building, but the newest 13 miles of PA Turnpike in southwestern PA are finally complete—after more than 40 years. I’ll refrain from making any comments about the pace of government work (ha – just kidding). Yesterday was the official ribbon-cutting for the $900 million (yep you read that correctly) “shortcut” linking Route 22 to Interstate 79 in Allegheny and Washington counties. Let’s just hope they never have to add an exit ramp. Could take 10 years.

PA’s rainy day fund was 2nd smallest in country before latest deposit

In news that will surprise no one who’s read any stories about our rainy day fund, it turns out that by the close of FY 2021 (before the latest deposit into our rainy day fund), we had socked away the 2nd smallest amount in the country, according to a new analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts. According to the analysis, we had only 2.7 days of operating costs in reserve, second only to Illinois, which had less than one-tenth of a day. The good news is that the recent deposit into our rainy day fund brought us closer to national norms.

Union’s close ties with city gov’t on display in Johnny Doc trial

The Inquirer reports on the testimony of Richard Lazer—a member of Mayor Jim Kenney’s cabinet, Philly’s deputy mayor for labor, and “the highest-ranked government official yet to testify in the federal bribery trial” of John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. Lazer, who has not been accused in the case, testified of the close relationship between city government and Johnny Doc’s union. He noted that in 2015, while he was working an intense job as political director for Kenney’s campaign, Johnny Doc’s union paid him $4,000 a month to “field a couple of calls a week from union officials to answer their questions about the inner workings of government.” Those are some expensive calls!

Whom would Shapiro endorse for his running mate? 

Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who’s been running for governor for years and finally got around to formally announcing this week, reportedly has a short-list of folks he’d consider endorsing as his Lt. Gov. running mate. The Inquirer reports that on the list are Rep. Brian Sims (Philadelphia), Rep. Patty Kim (Dauphin County) and Rep. Austin Davis (Allegheny County).

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