News & Brews April 2, 2024

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3rd-party candidates face hurdles to get on Pa. ballot

Last week, the Forward Party announced its candidates for state attorney general and treasurer. But Spotlight PA reports that the candidates face several hurdles before actually getting on the November ballot. First, “Candidates running for statewide office … must get a number of signatures equal to 2% of the votes cast for the candidate who got the most votes in the last general election. Under this standard, a Forward Party candidate would need roughly 33,000 signatures to get on the ballot this year — much higher than the 1,000-signature requirement for Democratic and Republican row office candidates.” Second, “they’ll almost certainly need to battle attempts by major parties, which see third parties as potential spoilers, to push them off the ballot.”

Philly’s ‘post-ARPA fiscal reality’

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed by Congress in 2021, “provided Philadelphia with $1.4 billion to use through December 2024.” The Pew Charitable Trusts recently published a brief that “focuses on the city’s financial prospects after the federal ARPA money is spent. It examines how economic downturns could affect city revenue and what budgetary strategies local officials could consider, whatever the city’s fiscal condition.”

Report: School choice ‘switchers’ benefit taxpayers

EdChoice has a new research brief that looks at “switchers” vs. “non-switchers” within “the context of choice programs with broad eligibility (universal and near-universal choice programs).” Switchers are students who, without school choice programs, would be in public schools. Non-switchers are students who, without school choice programs, would be in private schools. The report finds, “Switchers generate fiscal benefits for taxpayers when they leave public schools.”

Pa.’s structural deficit looms over budget talks

City & State PA reports that amid budget negotiations, Pa.’s structural deficit is “complicating matters.” In short, Pa. is expected to spend more than it collects in revenue over the next several years.” This is nothing new, but Gov. Shapiro wants to increase spending even more, using Rainy Day funds for new recurring spending. According to the “Pew Charitable Trusts, whose work focuses on state fiscal health … failing to address a long-term structural deficit can have significant impacts.” Pew “pointed to Illinois as an example: The state had a $6 billion deficit and had amassed $14.6 billion in unpaid bills in 2017.”

Democrat voter registration advantage in Pa. hits new low

The gap between registered Democrats and registered Republicans in Pa. continues to shrink, with the number falling below 400,000 for the first time in recorded history. According to new voter registration data released by the Pa. Department of State, Pa. has 3,891,921 registered Democrats and 3,492,427 registered Republicans. About a decade ago, the Democrat advantage was more than a million. About 1.3 million voters are unaffiliated or third party.

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