News & Brews June 11, 2024

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House Dems vote to hike school spending with no accountability, slash funding for cyber charter school students 

Yesterday, House Democrats, along with a handful of Republicans, passed legislation that would increase education spending by nearly $6 billion (with no associated accountability for results) while slashing funding for Pennsylvania’s cyber charter school students. The legislation essentially codifies the recommendations of Democrats on the Basic Education Funding Commission. The bill now heads to the Senate, where the Republican majority is more focused on giving kids opportunities to get a great education rather than simply kowtowing to special interests intent on keeping kids trapped in failing schools.

House GOP committee to hold tax cut hearings

This morning at 9:00 a.m., the Pa. House Republican Policy Committee will hold the first in a series of hearings on the proposal to reduce the state’s personal income tax from 3.07% to 2.8% and eliminate the gross receipts tax on electricity. Read more here, or click here to watch the livestream at 9:00 a.m.

Senate GOP hearing today on crime trends

This morning at 10:00 a.m. the Senate Majority Policy Committee will hold a hearing on “crime trends and solutions in Pennsylvania.” Per committee Chair Sen. Dan Laughlin (Erie County), “The committee will look at crime trends across Pennsylvania to get a clear picture of the factors driving these trends and what’s happening in our communities. Experts will shed light on these factors – focusing on law enforcement workforce limitations, mental and behavioral health issues in the judicial system, and organized retail theft – with the committee exploring solutions to make our communities safer.” Watch the livestream at 10:00 a.m. here.

Protestors ‘descend’ on offices of school choice lawmakers

Yesterday, about 250 protesters “descended” on the offices of four pro-school-choice lawmakers, entering their Capitol offices unannounced (although apparently telling the press in advance). The protesters, who afterwards joined up with their union organizers, oppose efforts to give children in poor and low-performing school districts the same educational opportunity that children in more well-off families have. These protestors argue that only children from families with the means to either live in good school districts or pay to send their kids to private schools should have access to the best schools. Meanwhile, these protestors believe children in families with lesser means—often minority or immigrant children—should not be granted that same opportunity.

Report: More working Pa. families fight to make ends meet

The Post-Gazette reports that according to a new report from the United Way of Pennsylvania, “Between 2021 and 2022, the number of Pennsylvania households in poverty grew by 4%. While the number of households that fall under a category known as ALICE — or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — increased by 6%…. The trend was especially apparent in Allegheny County, where the poverty rate remained stagnant between 2021 to 2022 but the share of ALICE households grew by 12%, or about 17,000 households. That puts just under a third of Allegheny County families in the ALICE category.”

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