News & Brews January 16, 2024

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Philly schools’ declining enrollment

The 74 has released a nationwide map of school district enrollment loss during the Covid pandemic. And Philadelphia is among the top of the list of school districts with more than 50,000 students that have “the greatest share of schools that declined by 20% or more.” Specifically, the story notes that 25% of schools in the Philadelphia School District hit a 20% enrollment decline.

Allegheny Co. GOP state senator draws challenger

Staking her campaign on a firm alliance with unions and a staunch opposition to rescuing kids from failing union-run schools, Democrat Nicole Ruscitto announced her intent to challenge Republican GOP state Senator Devlin Robinson. WESA describes the district as a “suburban swing district,” adding that since redistricting, “Republican candidates have outperformed within the district compared to the county as a whole, though Democrats have been competitive here. U.S. Sen. John Fetterman and Gov. Josh Shapiro both carried the district in 2022, while Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato was trounced there last year.”

Constitutional amendments remain in limbo

Spotlight PA reviews the lack of movement on multiple proposed constitutional amendments. For example, if the proposal to open a window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue doesn’t pass the legislature and head to voters this year, lawmakers will have to begin the two-year-constitutional-amendment process again next year. Meanwhile, House Democrats are balking at giving voters a say on Voter ID. Of course, nothing is happening now as House Democrats are on a voting vacation until March 18 since they refuse to work due (supposedly) to a leaky roof in their chamber.

Op-Ed: Gov’t is ‘greediest of them all’

David N. Taylor, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, highlights Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s votes in favor of the $1,900,000,000,000 “American Rescue Plan” and the >$1,200,000,000,000 “Inflation Reduction Act,” both of which helped drive inflation to historic levels. Now, Casey is trying to blame business greed for the high cost of gas and groceries. “Much like the concept that ‘wet streets cause rain,’ Senator Casey’s formulation is exactly backwards,” Taylor writes. “These kinds of politicians are going to spend as much as they want on whatever they want because that’s what they want, taxpayers and economic consequences be damned. That is the most dangerous and damaging greed of all.”

Shapiro ‘gets sh** done?’ How it started, how it’s going

How it started: In November, Gov. Shapiro announced a “$4 million investment in Astrobotic Technology to send Pittsburgh to the moon.” He was so proud of this that in January, his administration issued a self-congratulatory news release, touting, “Shapiro Administration’s Investment in Astrobotic Technology Helps Lead America Back to the Moon, Grow Pennsylvania’s Economy.”

How it’s going: Now, we’ve learned that the “Pa. company’s lunar lander will burn up after failed moonshoot.” The story notes, “The lander also carried a rover from Carnegie Mellon University and other privately sponsored research, as well as the ashes and DNA from about 70 people, including ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke.”

Things we can never get back: $4 million in taxpayer funded corporate welfare; Gene Roddenberry’s ashes.

(H/t to Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation for this observation.)

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