Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

By Leo Knepper

Every June an unholy alliance of Big Government special interests and politicians gathers in Harrisburg to decide how to spend your money. Governor Wolf provided an outline of what he wanted to see back in February. His focus was on more education spending, more taxes on natural gas, and a higher minimum wage. As we noted at the time:

Pennsylvania currently spends more on education than forty-one other states. More money is not going to help students in failing schools…The worst performing school district [in Pennsylvania], Wilkinsburg Borough, spends over $30,000 per pupil. However, only fifteen percent of their students are proficient in math, and twenty-six percent are proficient in reading. On top of poor performance in math and reading, less than half of Wilkinsburg’s students graduate. More money is not the solution for our education system’s failings…

“In his budget address, Wolf repeated the lie that natural gas companies aren’t paying their ‘fair share’ and he advocated for raising their taxes. He stated that Pennsylvania was the only state not collecting an extraction tax, but the Governor failed to mention that we are the only state to levy an impact fee. In 2017, the natural gas companies paid over $200 million into Pennsylvania’s coffers due to our impact fee. Natural gas companies are also subject to the Commonwealth’s corporate net income tax, which happens to be the second highest in the country. On top of that, the Treasury gets a cut of any royalties paid to individuals by the gas companies. At what point will Governor Wolf be satisfied that natural gas companies are paying their fair share?

“The final item trotted out by the Governor was an increase in the minimum wage. If Governor Wolf wants to make it harder for lower-skilled workers to find employment, setting an artificially high wage floor will undoubtedly make that happen. Minimum wage increases enacted by other states and localities have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and Pennsylvania would not be exempt from that trend.”

As far as we can tell, none of the Governor’s proposals are entirely off the table. In fact, Senate Republican leaders and Democrats included another shale gas tax in their fiscal code last year, along with several other tax increases. The House nixed the worst of the fiscal code, including the shale tax increase. So far this year, we haven’t heard anything from Senate Republican leaders shutting the door on targeted tax increases.

We have yet to see a budget proposal from the Pennsylvania House or Senate. The General Assembly doesn’t provide a budget framework until closer to the June 30th deadline, making it harder for taxpayers to weigh in on how their money will be spent over the next year. We will be sure to update you as soon as there is anything to report.

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

Pennsylvania Spends More, Gets Less

Carla D’Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com

Carla D’Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com — Carla D’Addesi, who hosts “Family Matters” on 1180 AM WFYL, is now writing for BigLeaguePolitics.com.

She is quoted in this article concerning how a bizarre woman who encourages kindergartners to “transition” into the opposite sex has been named California’s “Teacher of the Year.”

It is time to end public schools.

Carla D’Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com

Carla D'Addesi Joins BigLeaguePolitics.com

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania — Kurt Holland sent us this great link for FairFundingPa.org which details public school spending in Pennsylvania by district.

The average cost per puil in Pennsylvania is $16,533.

Check out what they spend where you live.

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania

$16,533 Per Pupil In Pennsylvania

 

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown — Dennis Prager, the mind behind PragerU that is brilliantly upsetting the narrow-minded bigots who enforce the status quo, will appear 7 p.m., April 10 at the Llanerch Country Club in Havertown.

Tickets are $75 and include a cocktail reception and light dinner fare. A $250 VIP ticket is also available that provides admittance to a pre-event reception with Mr. Prager at 6 p.m.

The event benefits Regina Angelorum Academy, a 10-year-old private Catholic School in Ardmore  that provides a classical education.

For information about the event with Mr. Prager call 215-287-6218.

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown

Dennis Prager Visiting Havertown

 

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

By Leo Knepper

Back in July, Governor Wolf nominated a union president, Jerry Oleksiak, to be Labor Secretary. As we said at the time:

“Mr. Oleksiak is the President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), the largest teachers’ union in the Commonwealth. Making matters worse, Oleksiak also took part in one of the most tax-payer abusive practices available to union officials: he was a ghost teacher.

“As a ghost teacher, Oleksiak worked full time for the PSEA, but he collected a paycheck, accumulated seniority, and pension benefits from the Upper Merion School District. Although the district was reimbursed for his salary and health benefits, Oleksiak and the PSEA still rely on the generosity of taxpayers to cover his lifetime pension benefits…

“In our conversations with business owners and employers, no one has ever complained to us that Pennsylvania wasn’t pro-organized labor enough. According to most recent studies, Pennsylvania ranks at the bottom of places to do business; our labor regulations are a significant reason why. A Labor Secretary with no experience in the private sector and a decade’s worth of experience advocating for policies hostile to the best interest of taxpayers would make the Commonwealth even less appealing to job creators.”

The Pennsylvania Senate had an opportunity to stop this nominee. The leadership of the Senate abdicated their responsibility by allowing him to become Secretary without a vote. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, nominees automatically assume the position if a vote isn’t held in twenty-five legislative days. Senate Republican leaders asked the Governor to withdraw the nomination because they rightly had concerns about Oleksiak’s qualifications. The Governor refused to withdraw the nomination. Rather than putting Senate members on record as either supporting or opposing an unqualified Labor Secretary, Senate leaders allowed him to walk into the position.

Senate Republican leadership, Senators Joe Scarnati and Jake Corman in particular, had an opportunity to stop an unqualified nominee from becoming Secretary of Labor or at worst putting members of the chamber on record. When they failed to take a vote, Scarnati and Corman deprived constituents information about their senators’ priorities. Denying voters this valuable information is a disservice to taxpayers and a shameful example of politics as usual in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

Jerry Oleksiak Pick Shows Wolf Not Interested In Reform

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro Power

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro Power

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro PowerBy Scott Wagner

“It is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective because we have power.”

These were sad and shocking admissions made by Bob Chanin, a leader of the National Education Association, an organization of which the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is a member and significant funder.

I think it’s time Pennsylvanians have a serious conversation about the PSEA.

Protecting power — not kids, teachers and taxpayers — is what drives the PSEA. And the PSEA is Tom Wolf’s largest union funder.

Worse yet, in Pennsylvania, public sector employees — like teachers — don’t get to choose whether or not they pay dues.  Dues are taken from their paychecks and sent to the unions — like the PSEA — whether teachers like it or not.

This method of collecting union dues has made the PSEA very, very powerful.

And I’ve seen firsthand how the PSEA uses teachers’ dues against them, and against students and taxpayers. They block every effort that would benefit these stakeholders — like solving the pension crisis so that money can actually go to the classroom, and eliminating school property taxes so hardworking people can keep their homes.

Back in February, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill that would stop the PSEA from collecting involuntary dues, and curb their ability to block what’s good for stakeholders. Senate Bill 166 (Paycheck Protection) passed with a vote of 28 (Y) to 22 (N), and upon passage was sent to the House for a vote. This past week, however, the State House defeated the bill by a vote of 102 (no) to 90 (yes).

The PSEA doesn’t like me much — and I’m not particularly fond of the way they work against teachers, students and taxpayers — but make no mistake. When I’m governor, changing this power dynamic will be a top priority of my administration.

Unlike Bob Chanin and the PSEA, as the governor of Pennsylvania, I will be representing children, teachers and taxpayers from day one, because for me, it is about children, and it is about having a great public school for every child, every teacher and every taxpayer.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate and is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2018.

PSEA Anti-School Anti-Child Pro Power

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

By John Haenn

Advocates of fluid definitions of gender found themselves stymied and flustered by simple questions from the audience and school board at last night’s (Dec. 18) Penn Delco (Pa) School Board meeting.

They were on hand to support a proposed new policy that would add “gender identity” to a student’s accepted identity even if it differs from the birth certificate.

This would effectively give by-right access to traditionally gender-segregated places and athletic teams to all desiring such access regardless of biology.

Testifying for a policy change were Samantha King, who directs the sex and gender clinic  at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP); counselor Erica Smith; and Quinton Cruise of the Pennsylvania Youth Conference, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

School Superintendent George Steinhoff noted that the district now handles such matters of confusion on a case-by-case basis with the emphasis on protecting the child. He questioned their claim that failing to adopt a general policy would violate federal law as an Obama-era directive had been rescinded.  Ms. King said court battles were  occurring but conceded that he was correct. School Board Solicitor Mike Puppio would also point out that there are no laws binding on this.

School Director Lisa Esler noted that CHOP’s website suggested that single-room bathrooms as an option for children having difficulty. She said that the school district has those including one in the nurse’s office.

“Single use bathrooms might not be close,” Ms. King responded. “Also kids might get sick using the nurse’s bathroom.”

Mrs. Esler asked Cruise if any research had occurred regarding  the impact and emotional distress on the 99.9 percent of the student population in currently segregated areas. He became noticeably flustered and removed himself from the podium. Ms. King stepped in to rescue him.

“Someone not trans can also use single-use bathrooms,” she said which didn’t really answer the question.

Mrs. Esler asked if the policy would extend to adult visitors at the school.

“It doesn’t matter because adults use faculty facilities anyway,” said Ms. King.

Then the audience took over.

“How do you handle mean kids, bullies?” one person asked.

“Bathrooms are just unsafe,” Ms. King answered. “Adding gender identity to the polices helps address bullies.”

“Should there be a security guard in the bathroom now?” one person asked.

“Students can handle this,” said Ms. King. “Friends and going into the bathroom with a buddy. The non-bullies and trans students can use the special bathrooms.”

“We’re already complying, this is a waste of time,” said one person.

“You don’t comply because you have no policy,” said Ms. King. “You don’t comply because you can’t use any bathroom you want.”

The board discussed the matter. Director Georgia Stone pointed out that the district is not in the best position to help students decide who they are.

“This impacts too much, lives, families and friends, future,” she said. “This should be left to the courts on a case-by-case basis.” She noted that the district would of course comply with a court order.

Several residents made public comments. One said “This is a far reach” as there are already unisex bathrooms, the district is accommodating and that there already are bullying policies. One said “getting changed in a locker room is already stressful,” and a new policy should be enacted before it gets worse. Another said “all students need to be given equal rights”. Another who moved into the district a year ago from Chester County said “I know students are bullied and some decide to be home schooled. Students are mean.”

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

 

 

 

Gender Identity Policy Proposed In Penn Delco

Gender Identity Policy Proposed In Penn Delco — The Penn Delco School Board will hold a special board meeting, 6:30 p.m., Dec. 18,  to discuss a new policy which would add GENDER IDENTITY (distinct from sex at birth) to its discrimination policy.

If this is enacted, children will lose their privacy, not only in the bathroom, but in changing areas, swimming and overnight trips.
“Penn Delco tends to the needs of all it’s children,” said one concerned citizen. “There are ways to accommodate everyone but not at the expense and privacy traditionally and biologically know to our community. Please take the time to attend the meeting so you are aware of what is being discussed. Protecting our children should be our first priority.”
Gender Identity Policy Proposed In Penn Delco

Gender Identity Policy Proposed In Penn Delco

SB 76 Fails To Ease Tax Burden Says Lisa Esler

SB 76 Fails To Ease Tax Burden — Lisa Esler, who is one of our favorite people and is a Penn Delco school director, had a 14-minute interview, today, Nov. 30, with Gunther Rewind concerning SB 76. The proposed legislation would prohibit homes from being taxed to fund schools.

Lisa notes that this reform does not solve the tax burden issue and that  state legislature is not interested in taking the simple, commonsense steps necessary to do so.

She says the prevailing wage mandate increases construction and maintenance  projects between 10 and 30 percent and should be simple to repeal with an honest government. She notes unnecessary state mandates such as paid teacher sabbaticals. She points out the crushing $70 billion-and-rising pension shortfall. She mentioned how the right to strike by teachers inevitably means tax increases.

And while nobody should be taxed from their home, Lisa is 100 percent correct that  Harrisburg is not serious about fixing things.

You can find Lisa’s interview here.

SB 76 Fails To Ease Tax Burden

SB 76 Fails To Solve Tax Burden Problem

Matt Damon School Choice Film Screening Nov. 2

Matt Damon School Choice Film Screening Nov. 2 — A film concerning school choice will be aired, 7 p.m., Nov. 2 at the Bryn Mawr Church of the Redeemer, 230 Pennswood Road, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010. It’s called Backpack Full of Cash and will be narrated by noted Hollywood star, Harvey-Weinstein enabler and Howard Zinn fan Matt Damon.

The tagline is “Why are vouchers and school choice killers of local public schools?”

Attend if you can. As Joanne Yurchak wisely notes conversation is good.

The event is free and sponsored by Parents Across America — Suburban Philadelphia, and the Moms’ Group of Bryn Mawr Church of the Redeemer.

 

Matt Damon School Choice Film Screening Nov. 2

Matt Damon School Choice Film Airing Nov. 2