News & Brews January 11, 2024

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Ed Funding Commission to present recommendations today

Today at 1:00 p.m., the Basic Education Funding Commission will hold its final meeting, where members will present the findings and recommendations from the commission’s months of public hearings on how to reform Pa.’s system of education funding. Following the meeting, this information will also be posted on the commission’s website. You can watch the 1:00 pm livestream here.

Op-Ed: Biggest full-time legislature shouldn’t be least productive

GOP State Rep. Rob Mercuri (Allegheny County) writes in the Tribune-Review that “House Democrats have played fast and loose with their small margin through the course of the year [2023], leading to a slow-moving, politically charged and unproductive session. With a narrow, one-seat majority, House Democrats used multiple special elections to delay getting any work done on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania in order to preserve their control.” Pa.’s legislature is “the nation’s largest and one of its most expensive full-time legislative bodies.” Heading in 2024, lawmakers should resolve “to earn a return on the investment of the taxpayers whom they were elected to serve.”

Giddy up? More than $3.5B in tax $$ to horse racing since ’04

The Center Square reports that while tax subsidies to the horse racing industry fell slightly in 2023, Pennsylvanians still sent $198 million to the industry in FY 2022-23. This is down $8 million from the prior year—a “dip” that’s “expected to reverse” this fiscal year. All told, “Since 2004, more than $3.5 billion in taxpayer money has flown toward the equine sport.”

Is $2K tax hike per family of 4 coming to Pa. ?

The Commonwealth Foundation explains why a $6 billion tax increase—or about $2,000 per family of four—purportedly for education, “is a recipe for failure.” CF notes, “Overall, state financial support for public education has increased 54 percent over the last decade, reaching an all-time high of nearly $15.5 billion in 2023–24. Pennsylvania school districts receive nearly $22,000 in revenue per student overall, among the highest in the nation.” As lawmakers consider changes to our ed funding system to comply with last year’s court ruling, they should look to “improvements” that “include phasing out hold harmless, as well as running state funding streams to public schools through the fair funding formula for a more equitable distribution.”

Deluzio calls for defense secretary’s resignation

Democrat U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (PA-17), a U.S. Navy veteran, has added his voice to those calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for keeping his recent hospitalization a secret, even from the president. Deluzio said, “I have lost trust in Secretary Lloyd Austin’s leadership of the Defense Department due to the lack of transparency about his recent medical treatment and its impact on the continuity of the chain of command.”

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