News & Brews June 24, 2024

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The ‘sticking points’ of this year’s state budget

Capitol reporter Bruce Siwy writes that as we approach the traditional June 30 state budget deadline, “Questions about education, income tax and recreational vice remain unresolved.” With a Republican Senate and Democrat House (not to mention a somewhat absent governor, I might add), these issues—particularly education spending, school choice, and tax cuts—may push the budget talks beyond June 30. Siwy writes, “Though a brief budget impasse won’t create any immediate problems, prolonged delays can disrupt state funding to the subdivisions of government. Various school programs — or county-run mental health services, for example — can be affected if the budget remains incomplete for months.”

Trump rally in Philly draws thousands

Thousands of Trump supporters gathered on Saturday at Temple University’s Liacouras Center for the former president’s first-ever campaign rally in Philadelphia. WHYY reports that Trump talked immigration, crime, and the economy, stating, “In the Trump administration, we’re going to bring law and order and safety back to our streets. We’re going to bring success back to our schools, we’re going to bring prosperity back to our forgotten communities. And we’re going to liberate our once great cities and make Philadelphia better and more beautiful than ever before.” In 2016, Trump won Pa. by less than one percentage point, while in 2020, he lost the state to President Biden by slightly over one percentage point.

Biden aims to woo suburban women away from Trump 

The AP reports that in swing-state suburbs, President “Biden and his allies are trying to replicate Democrats’ [2020] success with suburban women this year and signaling they can win a small number of Republican women who may be opposed to a second Trump presidency.” But in closely-watched Bucks County, “there was little evidence that traditional Republicans were ready to abandon Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, in significant numbers.” Meanwhile, “Trump’s team is confident inflation and illegal immigration will drive some suburban women toward the former president.”

Pro-abortion groups plan $100M effort

POLITICO reports that several pro-abortion groups are planning to spend $100 million to re-establish a federal government ‘right’ to abortion and even go beyond the former status quo in order to force taxpayers to fund abortions. The story notes that the group, dubbed Abortion Access Now, “is not yet endorsing any particular bill or policy, and its members stress the need to adapt to whatever court rulings or election results come their way. Still, the nine core organizations and dozen supporting groups in the alliance have an initial game plan as they start lobbying elected officials, organizing volunteers and holding events in Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Michigan, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.”

Property taxes: Up, up & away (or maybe just up)

The Center Square reports that per an analysis from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), school district property taxes are “expected to grow by 4.8% and 4% in 2025 and 2026.” This is in comparison to growth of 2.4% to 3.3% in recent years. “In fiscal year 2022-23, school district property taxes totaled $16.6 billion and are expected to rise by 3.2% to almost $17.2 billion in 2023-24…. By 2024-25, statewide school district property taxes will hit $18 billion and $18.7 billion in 2025-26, the IFO projected.” (Remember, these taxes are going up even as school district are holding billions of dollars in reserve funds.)

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