News & Brews July 10, 2023

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State budget ‘in limbo’

Spotlight PA reports that “bad blood, technicalities, and complicated code bills” are keeping the Pa. state budget “in limbo.” The bad blood refers to Shapiro’s bait-and-switch in breaking his promise to support Lifeline Scholarships. The technicalities highlight that while the House and Senate have both passed a spending plan, leaders in both chambers need to sign it. Only then can it go to Gov. Shapiro. And the Senate is not scheduled to be back in session until September. And the code bills are the bills that outline the mechanism for spending money in the budget. Those bills still aren’t done. So, here we stand.

‘Harrisburg honeymoon is over’

For a few months, newly inaugurated Gov. Josh Shapiro garnered bipartisan praise. Well, no more. The Post-Gazette reports that Shapiro’s backtrack on school choice “may have obliterated much of the trust” that allowed him to work across the aisle. Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman said Shapiro’s breaking of his word showed “fundamental weakness and breakdown of leadership.” And one Republican state rep. said Shapiro’s “actions show he can’t be trusted.”

‘Oz, Fetterman, and the future of Pa. politics’

Here’s the white paper I admit I wasn’t expecting. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) published a research paper on the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Pa. The executive summary says. “Our comprehensive postmortem finds that Fetterman’s unique blue-collar appeal—combined with Oz’s particularly weak campaign—propelled Democrats to victory.” Check out the whole report here. (Or, if you want a much shorter analysis, we had one of those a while back.)

‘Labor union data contradicts teacher exodus claims’

We’ve been hearing about the ‘mass exodus’ of teachers from the profession. But the Center Square reported that data compiled by the National Education Association “shows a slight increase in the number of public school teachers working in Pennsylvania between 2020 and 2022 – from 120,717 to 120,981.” This contradicts separate data lawmakers pointed to in voting for a tax credit for new teachers. (That legislation passed the House but has not moved in the Senate.)

Op-Ed: ‘Shapiro chooses unions over students’

Commonwealth Foundation President and CEO Charles Mitchell had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Gov. Shapiro’s flip-flop on Lifeline Scholarships. Charles writes that Shapiro could have “use[d] his political capital to force his own party to rescue kids trapped in failing schools.” This would have “risk[ed] an extended budget impasse and union ire.” Shapiro’s other option: “go back on his word,” as he had previously stated his support for Lifeline. He chose the latter.

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