News & Brews May 30, 2024

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Biden courts Black voters in Philly 

Back in Philly yesterday, President Biden launched “Black Voters for Biden-Harris,” even as his support among Black Americans has eroded. The Inquirer reports, “It’s clear why Biden chose Philadelphia, the largest and bluest city in a pivotal swing state, to launch his effort with Black voters. Over the years, Philadelphia wards with majority-Black populations have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates in presidential elections, but the city’s Democratic share of the statewide vote has declined in recent years.” Meanwhile, POLITICO reports that even while Biden is “investing heavily” in Pa., he has “little to show for it.”

Scientists make huge lithium discovery in Pa. 

The Hill reports that University of Pittsburgh scientists have discovered a large amount of lithium located in Pennsylvania, saying it could eventually supply more than a third of America’s needs for the mineral.” Specifically, water from Marcellus Shale gas development in Pa., could cover up to 40% of national demand. Per the Marcellus Shale Coalition, “Currently, the United States is a net lithium importer relying primarily on China, Russia and South America, and this scientific analysis by one of the leading energy laboratories in the world, shows once again how abundant Pennsylvania natural gas can enhance America’s energy, environmental and national security.”

Human services account for 42% of state budget 

Human services costs, including food stamps and Medicaid, account for 42% of the state budget, or $19.1 billion. This was a focus of a House Republican Policy Committee hearing yesterday on preserving benefit integrity. The Center Square reports, “In 2000, Pennsylvania had 760,000 residents getting food stamps. Now, almost 2 million receive them. Growth in Medicaid has been similar: The state spent $10.7 billion on 1.3 million residents in 2000, but now, the state spends almost $47 billion to provide Medicaid benefits to 3.3 million residents.” Per the Foundation for Government Accountability, Pa.’s Medicaid spending as a percent of the state budget is the highest in the nation. Instead of going to those truly in need, however, a huge percent of these benefits are going to able-bodied adults who could be working. A second hearing on the topic will be held this morning at 10:00 a.m. Watch it here.

Dems add 2 Pa. congressional seats to target list 

The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee has added two Pennsylvania congressional races to its “Red to Blue” effort, which seeks to flip Republican seats to Democrat. DCCC will put extra resources behind Ashley Ehasz, who is challenging Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pa.’s 1st congressional district, and Janelle Stelson, who is challenging Republican Rep. Scott Perry in the 10th congressional district.

Proposed tax cut would save families $900 per year

According to a new Commonwealth Foundation analysis, tax cuts proposed by the Pa. state Senate would save a family of four $400 in Fiscal Year 2024-25, with this savings increasing to $900 in Fiscal Year 2025-26. These tax cuts, which the Senate passed earlier this month with bipartisan support, include a reduction in the personal income tax rate from 3.07% to 2.8% and the elimination of the gross receipts tax on electricity.


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