News & Brews April 6, 2023

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‘Halftime’ in state budget talks

The Center Square reports, “Halfway through the state’s annual budget talks, the governor’s administration appears unified around a single strategy: spend money to make money.” The story notes that Gov. Shapiro “wants to spend roughly $50 billion the state has on hand over the next five years, from recurring revenues and a $5.6 billion rainy day fund.” (Remember: All of this is taxpayer money.) Understandably, not everyone is on board. House GOP Appropriations Chair Seth Grove (York County) questioned “how we use substantial one-time surplus and rainy day funds and it’s not even raining.”

Early poll shows Shapiro with 54% job approval

A poll of 600 Pennsylvania voters shows 54% approve of the job Gov. Josh Shapiro is doing while 31% disapprove. The poll, commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation, also shows 61% believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track. The survey also showed wide majorities of Pennsylvanians support an expansion of tax credit scholarship programs (77%) and the establishment of Lifeline Scholarships (67%).

Nat’l Dems target two Pa. GOP congressional seats

Earlier this week, we shared that the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), which focuses on state legislatures, has set its sights on the Pa. state House and Senate in the 2024 elections. Well, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which focuses on federal races, is also eyeing Pa. The DCCC announced earlier this week that two Pa. congressional seats—now held by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10)—are on its 2024 target list.

Op-Ed: ‘No real ed reform without school choice’

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that more money isn’t the answer to inequitable educational opportunity. Instead, “Equitable opportunity requires that every student has access to the educational environment that best meets their needs. And the best people to decide the environment that best meets their needs are their parents.” Nate dispels some education funding myths while urging support for bipartisan legislation to create Lifeline Scholarships.

Op-Ed: Working together to lower energy costs

Commonwealth Foundation Vice President Steve Bloom writes that as Pennsylvanians see rising energy costs, “nearly 70% of Pennsylvanians support building more pipelines to transport natural gas to homes and businesses.” He urges Gov. Shapiro and lawmakers to “focus their efforts on environmentally sound bipartisan solutions to invigorate energy production and reduce prices for all Pennsylvania families.”

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