News & Brews January 5, 2024

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School choice foes claim underfunding for system that ranks 7th in the nation in spending

Investment in public education in Pennsylvania continues to climb, with per-pupil spending topping $21,000, the 7th-highest in the nation. Yet, in light of last year’s court ruling that our system of funding education is unconstitutional—the court ruled on the system, not on the amountschool choice foes are threatening to go back to court, claiming a $6.2 billion funding shortfall. These same folks often go apoplectic at the thought of letting even $1 follow children to the school of their choice.

Biden coming to Pa. today

President Biden will be in Pa. today for a campaign speech at Montgomery County Community College. According to a campaign spokesman, “The president will make the case directly that democracy and freedom, two powerful ideas that united the 13 colonies and that generations throughout our nation’s history have fought and died for a stone’s throw from where he’ll be Saturday [referencing Valley Forge], remains [sic] central to the fight we’re in today.” Meanwhile, Biden’s approval rating remains abysmally low as he seeks re-election.

Fetterman repeats call to oust fellow Dem senator

After a new indictment hit New Jersey’s senior senator, Democrat Bob Menendez, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman reiterated his call for the chamber to oust Menendez. On Tuesday, Fetterman tweeted, “Now, accused of selling his honor and our nation for a $24,000 watch. Accused as a foreign agent for ‘two’ nations. How much more before we finally expel @SenatorMenendez?” Menendez was previously charged with aiding the government of Egypt in exchange for bribes. The new charges allege he also helped Qatar. In September, Fetterman was the first senator to call for Menendez’s ouster.

DuBois spent >$300K in Suplizio corruption case

The city of DuBois spent more than $270,000 in taxpayer dollars in legal fees to defend former City Manager Herm Suplizio, who is accused of stealing more than $600,000 in taxpayer funds. The city paid an additional $32,000-plus on legal fees for folks associated with the case. Spotlight PA reports, “City Council approved the payment for Suplizio’s legal defense during its March 27, 2023, public meeting by a 4 to 1 vote and without discussion.”

Op-Ed: The state of public sector unions

Our president and CEO, Matt Brouillette, had a joint op-ed with Commonwealth Foundation President and CEO Charles Mitchell on the state of public sector unions in Pa. and the U.S. overall. “The national union membership rate was about 10 percent in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” they write. “But when you separate union membership by private and public sectors, you’ll notice quite the disparity: The public sector union membership is five times greater nationally than private sector union membership.”

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