News & Brews January 18, 2024

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What will be in Shapiro’s budget address? 

Gov. Shapiro gave a limited hint of what he’ll propose in his upcoming budget address on February 6, and it sure sounds like it could be a big spending increase. PennLive reports that among the items Shapiro mentioned is “a significant increase in funding for public education,” in the wake of the recent Democrat report calling for $6 billion in new spending. Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether Shapiro plans to propose expanding educational opportunity via Lifeline (or PASS) scholarships, which he promised on the campaign trail to support but then vetoed last year.

About that $6 billion tax hike …  

Our president and CEO, Matt Brouillette, writes in the Lock Haven Express that the Democrats’ plans to impose a $6 billion tax hike on Pennsylvanians, supposedly for “education,” would translate into a $2,000 tax increase per family of four. What’s more, the call for new spending doesn’t take into account that “[o]ver the past decade, total revenue for the Commonwealth’s school districts has increased by $11.9 billion,” without delivering promised results.

Philly hospital support staff vote out their union 

Support staff at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children recently voted to decertify the union that previously claimed to represent them. The effort was begun by Shidiah Jackson, an outpatient service coordinator who wanted to ask for higher pay but was told she was not allowed to unless she went through the union—which she didn’t want to be a member of. The Inquirer reports, “The process to terminate a union arrangement is similar to forming a new one: Workers first need to sign a petition to show that others are interested, and then the NLRB holds an election. Ultimately, Jackson gathered the necessary signatures and on Nov. 30, she and a majority of her peers voted to end union representation.”

GOP unity: Pennsylvania v. Michigan

NBC News compares how Republicans in Pa. and Republicans in Michigan reacted to tough losses in 2022. In Pa., the story notes, the party seems to be more unified, already backing David McCormick for U.S. Senate. In Michigan, “the GOP is presenting a much less united front.” That said, unity among party leaders in Pa. doesn’t necessarily mean unity among the grassroots.

David McCormick to get primary challenger?

Speaking of unity (or the lack of it) among grassroots, LancasterOnline reports that Conestoga Township Secretary and Treasurer Brandi Tomasetti plans to challenge fellow Republican David McCormick for the party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. Tomasetti has not yet officially filed with the Federal Election Commission, and she’s currently seeking help to get the 2,000 signatures needed by the February 13 deadline to get on the April primary ballot. (Candidates can begin collecting signatures on January 23.)

2nd Dem enters primary race against U.S. Rep. Summer Lee

Another Democrat plans to challenge progressive U.S. Rep. Summer Lee in the April primary election. Calling Lee an “antisemite” and saying fellow Democrat candidate Bhavini Patel is too young and inexperienced to run, Laurie MacDonald is campaigning as a “moderate” Democrat who can “build consensus.” MacDonald currently serves as president and CEO of the Center for Victims.

Shapiro recognizes Pa. School Choice Week 

Fresh off of his veto last year of Lifeline Scholarships, which would have vastly expanded school choice in Pennsylvania. Gov. Josh Shapiro earlier this month issued a proclamation recognizing January 21-27, 2024 as Pennsylvania School Choice Week. This coincides with National School Choice Week, an annual event that is “the largest celebration of educational opportunity in America.”

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