News & Brews March 14, 2023

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State court overturns agency decision on Delco natural gas project

Late last week, the Commonwealth Court overturned a 2022 decision by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) allowing PECO to build a “gas reliability station” in Delaware County. The project has received local pushback. In her ruling, Judge Ellen Ceisler wrote that the PUC needs to revisit its decision to “incorporate the results of a constitutionally sound environmental impact review.

How teachers’ unions capture public school funding 

If you think education funding increases make it to the classroom, think again. RealClearPennsylvania Deputy Editor Michael Torres explains in National Review that “thanks to powerful teachers’ unions that lobby for unsustainable benefits packages, money meant for students and teachers’ paychecks is funneled into pension liabilities.”

RGGI is ‘tucked into’ Shapiro’s budget proposal

The Delaware Valley Journal reports, “Tucked inside the nearly 1,000 pages of Shapiro’s executive budget proposal is an indication the state will likely embrace the controversial Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)….” The story notes that per the governor’s office, “Shapiro is merely exploring the program as one possible route for addressing environmental concerns.” But, yeah, typically governors don’t include things in their budget addresses that they wouldn’t love to implement. Of course, lots and lots of people aren’t happy about this proposed tax.

About that ‘teacher shortage’

Americans for Fair Treatment provides perspective on “the narratives surrounding teacher staffing issues.” Instead of being a numbers issue, the problem is actually a “distribution problem,” as the Commonwealth Foundation’s Elizabeth Stelle explained at a recent hearing. For example, “[S]ince 2000, student enrollment in Pennsylvania has dropped 6.6% (or 120,000 fewer students) while schools increased the number of employees by 8.7% (or 20,000 additional employees).”

Debate continues on electric vehicle fees

As the number of electric vehicles in Pa. climbs, “lawmakers still have to sort out two things – how to tax them to fund roads and bridges, and how to build out reliable charging stations,” reports the Center Square. Ideas for the former include a mileage fee or a fee based on the cost of maintaining infrastructure. On the latter, “More than 1,000 charging stations are active statewide, and Pennsylvania is set to get $170 million through 2026 to build more through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program.”

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