SB1 Middle Class Vouchers Addition Seems A Small Bone Thrown

SB 1, the school choice bill pending in the Pennsylvania legislature, was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, yesterday, April 11, on a 15-11 vote with the  addition of it now providing vouchers to “middle class” students starting in the 2014-2015 school year. These “middle class” vouchers, however, would be funded by part of an excess scholarship fund so it seems a rather small bone to be thrown to the Tea Party groups looking out for the middle class.

And the latest version of the bill, PN 1031, also now limits the aggregate amount of all opportunity scholarships awarded to low-income children  starting in the 2013-2014 school year to $250 million

The vote was generally party-line although Democrats Lisa Boscola and Lawrence Farnese voted for it and Republicans Lisa Baker and Stewart Greenleaf voted against it.

Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, whose 9th District includes large parts of Delaware and Chester counties and is an ex-officio member of the committee, voted for it.

The latest version, also among other things, changes  the methodology for defining the lowest performing five percent of schools; changes some of the reporting requirements; removes specific dates on the timeline;  penalties for misuse of scholarships, which includes disqualification from future eligibility for an opportunity scholarship; and requires participating non-public schools to  annually a standardized achievement test.

The new version also would create a “public school choice demonstration grant program”, which would let a school district establish a program of tuition grants for resident students who wish to attend a nonresident public school.

Reform Bills Clear Senate Committees

Reform Bills Clear Senate Committees — Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9) tweeted, 4 p.m., April 6, that four pieces of legislation that he supports have received committee approval.

The bills are:

SB 101 that hikes the penalty for violations of the state Sunshine Act from $100 to $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 for subsequent offenses, and prohibits the offender from being reimbursed with tax money.

SB 104 that mandates that all state-owned vehicles have an office use license plate and that all users of such vehicles be listed on state websites.

SB 106 that prohibits lame-duck voting sessions, which means votes would not be allowed from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November through Nov 30 in even numbered years, unless a special session has been convened.

SB 109 that requires paid advertising by any Commonwealth agency include the statement “Paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars.”


Reform Bills Clear Senate Committees

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.?

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.? — This article by Chris Freind is being republished with his kind permission.

Last November, Pennsylvanians elected Tom Corbett to solve the state’s problems. But instead of leadership, they’ve received task forces and blue ribbon panels. In just three months, commissions have been formed to deal with Marcellus Shale natural gas (with a whopping 31 members), explore the core functions of government and figure out how to privatize liquor.

Sorry, but isn’t that why people elect politicians? Isn’t it their job to solve these problems?

Commissions and task forces are simply code for passing the buck and kicking the can down the road. We might as well just hang a sign that reads, “Welcome to Pennsylvania, Blue Ribbon State.” And if GOP leaders don’t start following through on campaign promises, the only “Red” they’ll see is voter anger when the state turns Democratic Blue.


Since privatizing liquor is one of the only issues which enjoys a large consensus, and since it would provide billions to balance the ballooning budget deficit, it’s baffling why Corbett would punt away such political capital when he needs it most. Delaying the privatization initiative by instituting yet another study commission was a move that left many observers scratching their heads — and state store union employees punch-drunk with elation.

Even more perplexing is that Corbett has a solid ally in House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who had been spearheading privatization legislation for years. Turzai had a right to expect that, with strong GOP majorities in both houses, the Governor would come charging out of the gate on an issue that was a cornerstone of his campaign. Instead, Corbett felt compelled to reach into the “Business As Usual” drawer and pull out another meaningless commission, which looks increasingly like a bad political calculation.


Sometimes you have to walk out your door to realize that the grass really is greener somewhere else. For Pennsylvanians, that “green” is all the money saved by consumers in other states because they aren’t gouged when purchasing alcohol.

For the uninitiated, following is a primer for how the Pennsylvania alcohol monopoly works:

Pennsylvania is the largest purchaser of booze in the world. The state government, through the Liquor Control Board (LC, controls the purchase, distribution and sale of all wine and liquor. You might think that with such immense purchasing clout, its citizens would have outstanding selection and competitive pricing. But as any Pennsylvanian knows, that’s clearly not the case.

Interestingly, the LCB is charged with two distinct, and inherently contradictory, roles. While it’s responsible for raising revenue through the sale of wine and liquor, it’s also charged with controlling the sale of booze throughout the state. By definition, if the LCB is succeeding at one, it must be failing at the other.

Every bottle of liquor bought in the state comes with an added bonus: an 18 percent “temporary” tax, in addition to the 6 percent sales tax. So a $10 bottle jumps to $11.80 before the sales tax is calculated, totaling a whopping $12.50. In all fairness, the 18 percent tax was well intentioned—it was passed by the legislature to rebuild Johnstown after a devastating flood that destroyed the town.

In 1936. So much for “temporary” taxes.

Anyone who’s traveled outside Pennsylvania knows how refreshing it is to enter a grocery store and, remembering that you need a bottle of wine for dinner, walk two aisles over to the plethora of vino at your fingertips. Since others accomplish this with little difficulty, it’s incomprehensible that the nation’s sixth largest state can’t—or, more accurately, won’t—do the same.

It is infinitely more efficient when a private company, responsive to the needs of the free market (instead of bureaucrats), stocks its shelves with items that consumers want, at a fair market price. It is the core principle on which America was founded.

But Pennsylvania remains stuck in the Dark Ages, and what makes the sin mortal is that it chooses to remain there. It hasn’t dawned on the politicos in Harrisburg that they are losing untold revenue because of their Draconian system, with millions of residents crossing state lines to fill their liquor cabinets. (No offense to Governor Christie, but anytime New Jersey offers a better alternative, you know you have major problems).

And despite the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, if you’re caught bringing alcohol into Pennsylvania, it’s a criminal offense. In fact, such “criminals” used to have their cars confiscated for doing so.

To be fair, today’s LCB has made substantial progress in its operations and “customer service.” Not too long ago, all of its locations were “counter” stores, meaning that customers had to know exactly what they wanted before placing their order, since browsing was not permitted. The clerk would then disappear into the bowels of the store, only to return five or 10 minutes later, more often than not stating that they were “out of stock” and asking for a second choice. Now imagine this scene playing out at Christmas time, with 25 people in line.

But that’s not all.

Nothing in the store was chilled. No ancillary items, such as tonic water, were sold. No employees were permitted to offer advice. And no LCB stores accepted credit cards.

And all this because former Governor Gifford Pinchot, who as a young man became violently sick while imbibing in Germany, became bound and determined to make alcohol as difficult as possible to obtain.

But the LCB’s improvements amount to being valedictorian of summer school. The whole system has to be scrapped.

The ultimate irony is that the Keystone State, birthplace of American democracy and cradle of liberty, continues down the path of state control and government regulation, to the detriment of its twelve million citizens.

And what are liquor privatization’s chances? Dead for the spring session, possible in the fall and virtually nonexistent for 2012. With the makeup of the legislature sure to change next year, the time to take a “shot” is undoubtedly now.

The people have awakened from their stupor, demanding change. Instead, all they get is a (Pabst) “Blue Ribbon” commission.

Time for another drink.

SB1 Tea Party Support Claim Disputed

A claim of support for SB1, the  pending school choice bill in the Pennsylvania Senate, is causing consternation among some Tea Party activists.

The Facebook page of  Ana Luiza Lannes Puig, who is a prominent Bucks County Tea Partyist,  says that “18 local Tea Party groups came together in Pittsburgh  to support SB1” at Tuesday’s Freedom Works event.

A screenshot of the page is being circulated among other prominent Tea Partyists, with other emails saying that SB1 was not the focus of the event and that many of the groups have yet to decide where they stand on it.

The Tea Partyists who are objecting to SB1 generally want a much more comprehensive bill with the state aid following all students, not just those  below a certain level of income or in particularly bad school districts.

For those who want to bandy about the word “racism”, please note that those who fall below a certain level of income or are in particularly bad school districts would not be left out by the changes these Tea Partyists seek.

More Thoughts On HB 42

HB 42, the  bill pending in the Pennsylvania House that would keep much of ObamaCare from being enforced in Pennsylvania, is being held in the  Appropriations Committee until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on challenges to the law socializing American medicine, according to Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph (R-165).

The idea, according to his staff, is to  simplify any tweaking that may be needed.

One suspects that Rep. Adolph just doesn’t get it.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was rammed through a year ago on false pretenses and against the obvious will of the American people. A Republican was elected to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate in hopes of stopping it, for Pete’s sake.

The legislators — including the leadership — did not read the bill before voting on it, and the Obama administration told blatant falsehoods to the public regarding what it would do whether it be not raising insurance premiums, not cutting Medicare benefits, or that the mandates not being a tax which they are  now are telling judges that it really is.

Peaceful federalist resistance to ObamaCare is a perfectly moral and legitimate answer to it; and it would be a successful one assuming that the state legislators have the courage to carry it out which does not appear to be the case in parts of Pennsylvania.

Why Pa.’s Anti-ObamaCare Bill Is Bottled Up

HB 42, a bill that would keep much of ObamaCare from being enforced in Pennsylvania, will be held in the State House Appropriations Committee until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on ObamaCare’s constitutionality according to the staff of Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R) whose 165th District  includes much of Springfield and Marple townships.

ObamaCare has been found, in whole or part, to be unconstitutional by lower courts.

The Pennsylvania bill — which says “law or rule shall not compel, through penalties and fines, directly or indirectly, any individual, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system” — specifically allows health care providers to accept direct payments for services from employers or individuals without penalty, and prohibits  state law enforcement and regulatory agencies from participating “in compliance with any Federal law, regulation or policy” that would compromise the “freedom of choice in health care” of any resident of the state.

The Adolph staffer —in returning a call placed a month ago — said keeping it in the Appropriations Committee will simplify tweaking it in accordance with any ruling, or, hopefully, making the bill unnecessary.

The bill was introduced Jan. 19 by Matthew Baker (R-68) and 61 other representatives. It has been reported out of the House Health Committee on Feb. 7 by a 14-9 vote and has since languished in Appropriations.

Adolph was called out for sitting on the bill at a Feb. 20 event of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Americans For Prosperity.

Endorsements Pile On For Pa. School Choice Bill

A number of respected organizations ranging from the Black Alliance For Educational Options to Citizens Against Higher Taxes to the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association to Eagle Forum have added their endorsements to SB 1, the school choice bill winding its way through the Pennsylvania legislature.

It is expected that many of the school choice proponents who have been giving the bill a cold shoulder will come aboard as amendments to their liking are made when the bill gets to the State House as indicted by State Rep. Curt Schroder (R-155) during a March 6 debate at Independence Visitors Center in Philadelphia.

Hopefully, those in the House who care about children can make the state reimbursement follow every child regardless of income and residence.

Also it should be noted that changes made to the bill in the Senate Education Committee as reflected in Printer Number 721 aren’t likely to please the Choice-Yes/SB1-No crowd. The new limit for the tax credits under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program was lowered from $100 million to $92 million (the present limit is $75 million); the reimbursement to the school district for the pupil has been subtracted from the daily average revenue calculation for school districts, which will mean smaller scholarships;  and “nonpublic school” has been defined to mean “nonprofit entity exempt from federal taxation.

Less controversial changes include  expanding the eligibility for the scholarship in the second year of the phase-in  all “low-income children who will reside within the attendance boundary of a persistently lowest achieving school during the 2012-2013 school year” rather than just those  have already been enrolled in a non-public school.

Also a restriction has been added to prevent the recruiting of athletes.

Also a requirement that non-public schools make available its written polices upon request to those seeking enrollment has been added.

Also clarifications have been made about transportation reimbursement and how the scholarships can be used with other financial assistance to non-public schools.

Here is a list of the organizations whose endorsement of SB1 was announced March 22:

The American Council of Christian Churches, Pennsylvania Regionals
Advocates for Catholic Education in Pennsylvania (ACE-PA)
American Federation for Children (AFC)
American Grassroots Coalition
Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Western Pennsylvania
Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Western Pennsylvania
Baptist Bible Fellowship of Pennsylvania
Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)
Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS)
Center for Education Reform
Central and North Central Pennsylvania Fundamental Pastors Association
Children’s Jubilee Fund
Christian Family & Children’s Center
Christian Schools International
Citizens Against Higher Taxes
Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Foundation
Concerned Citizens of Western PA
Council on American Private Education – National
Eagle Forum
Faith First Education Assistance
52nd Street Business Association
52nd Street Community Development Corporation
Freedom Works
Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg Area Independent Baptist Pastor’s Fellowship
Hebron Vision Human Resource Center
Interchurch Holiness Convention (Pennsylvania)
Keystone Christian Education Association
LaSalle Academy
Let Freedom Ring
Lincoln Institute
Orthodox Union
PA Family Institute
PA Manufacturers Association
Pastor’s Fellowship of North Eastern Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Association of Regular Baptist Churches
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS)
Pennsylvania Council on American Private Education
Reach Foundation
Right To Work
Students First
Talk Magazine
The American Council of Christian Churches
The Foundation for Educational Choice
The Kitchen Table Patriots

Hat tip Bob Guzzardi.

Answering Tea Party Objections to SB 1

Ed Note: According to Tea Party activist Teri Adams, the question and answers noted below were from the newsletter of the Unite PA, Lancaster and are not intended to reflect a “Tea Party” consensus.


Citizen’s Alliance for Pennsylvania has written a response to the objections of some Tea Party groups to SB 1, which is the pending school choice legislation in Pennsylvania.  After Sunday’s debate hosted by The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, however, it seems many of the concerns are moot matters as there is very little Tea Party opposition in principle to school choice and that the objections to SB 1 involve simply scope and mechanics which are likely to be addressed when the bill gets to the House.


For instance, Chris Freind, one of the most vocal and articulate critics of SB1, said Sunday that he didn’t think the bill — even as is — would be found to be unconstitutional and would likely save the taxpayers money.


So let’s get the bill out of the Senate and into the House, and shine it into a gem and save all the children from the burning building to use Pastor Joe Watkins analogy.


Anyway hat tip Bob Guzzardi for  the CAP response which follows:



Answering TEA Party Objections to SB 1

Several TEA Party groups in Pennsylvania have banded together
to declare opposition to SB 1, listing their grievances with the
legislation.  While their heart is in the right place, their reasons for
opposing SB 1 have flaws. Herewith, a point-by-point refutation:

1. TEA Party Objection: Is SB 1 constitutional?
PROBABLY NOT but the state will find a way to subvert the constitution
by funneling money through the General Fund and using case law to defend
its premise.  Article III, Sec 15.

Rebuttal:  To which constitutional attorneys should we turn to
answer this question: PSEA labor union attorneys or the premier
conservative/libertarian public interest law firm, the Institute for
Justice, and their Pennsylvania partners?  The latter have directly
testified to the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1.   

In short, the Pennsylvania State Constitution states, “No money
raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall
be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.”
State General Fund revenue does not meet this definition as it is not
raised for the purposes of funding public education.  School district
property taxes are raised for this purpose and that is why Senate Bill 1
involves only state funding for private schools, and not local tax
property revenue.

Pennsylvania case law
permits the transfer of funds to parents for the purposes of exercising
school choice.  In other words, because scholarships are given to
parents who then makes school choices, this money is not being given
directly to private schools. Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s General Fund
already includes line items directly funding private school students.

Finally, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will have jurisdiction
over any legal issues or concerns of constitutionality, though voucher
programs have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

2. TEA Party Objection: Does SB1 increase the size
and scope of government?  YES, there will be a new department acting
independently, hand picked by the Governor and accountable to

Rebuttal: There is no new “department” being created, nor is it
unaccountable.  It will be an unpaid “Educational Choice Board” within
the Department of Education tasked with the responsibility of
implementing, administrating, and overseeing the $75 million EITC
program and the $25 million voucher program.  This neither increases the
size nor expands the scope of government but provides the vehicle
through which more choices will be given to more children trying to
escape the public school system.

3. TEA Party Objection: Does SB1 take property ($) from one person and give it to another without their consent? YES, ‘Vouchers’ will be provided to only low income families, of whom generally do not pay school tax.

Rebuttal: Do you currently “consent” to the $26 billion we spend
on the public schools today?  How about the $19,634 the taxpayers pay
for a public school kid in Pittsburgh?  And how much do families in
these failing school districts pay in taxes today for this massive
education subsidy?  Unless the TEA Party is advocating abolishment of
public education altogether, money is going to be taken from you for
that purpose; at least with SB 1, your tax money will bear portability
and flexibility, which will result in more efficient usage of it, which
in turn will result in savings to you.  

The reality is that taxpayers are already footing incredibly
expensive bills for failing schools and subsidizing low-income
families.  The question then is how do we stop funding failure and start
leaving that money with its rightful owners.  SB1 does this.

Not only does SB1 allow kids to use a voucher to find a better
school, it costs on a fraction of what we are currently paying for
failure.  In Harrisburg, where the taxpayers are paying $17,675 per kid
for failure, the voucher would be worth $8,498.  So a kid uses only half
as much taxpayer money to attend a better school.  This is good news
for the taxpayer.  Of course, it is now incumbent on the Harrisburg
school board to return the remaining $11,136 to its rightful owners—the
taxpayers.  And there is a much better chance of getting nine school
board members to return that money to its citizens than there is in
getting the 253 members of the General Assembly to do it.

SB1 is truly the antithesis of the concern inherent in this objection. 

4. TEA Party Objection: Is SB1 transparent and provide oversite? 
NO, the Education Opportunity Board reports directly to the Governor,
is appointed by the governor and accountable to themselves.

Rebuttal: Where is the lack of transparency and oversight?  The
Educational Choice Board is simply the manager of the legislatively
created program.  Where else and how would you do it differently?

5TEA Party Objection:  Will SB1
cause a reactionary increase in the cost of non-public
schools?  YES. SB1 will necessarily cause “bloated and more expensive
private education”.  How much does PA spend on higher education?
“State government spends nearly $2 billion annually on higher education. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, state spending is being maintained with the help of $249 million in federal stimulus money. But that spigot will be turned off in June 2011.”  Funding for Grants to Students has increased $55.7 million or 16 percent since 2002-03.   Higher
education provides a cautionary tale of how public subsidies can drive
up the cost of education. State legislatures and the federal government
have provided increasing subsidies to both public and private
universities for decades. The universities then use the subsidies to
spend more on salaries and programs, ultimately raising university
expenses and the call to raise tuition, generally answered with more
subsidies. Wringing their hands about a politically induced college
affordability crisis, politicians have continued to increase subsidies.
Lawmakers should be concerned that the same phenomenon could occur in
K-12 education. (In other words, the non-public schools would have NO
restraint in raising their tuition fees, making it more expensive for
EVERYONE – Why would they leave the money on the table – they won’t!).

Rebuttal: This is an “apples and oranges” analogy that ignores
what happens in a marketplace.  Higher education does not operate on a
portable voucher system and colleges do not have publicly elected school
boards that can control costs.  

Kids using vouchers in private
schools will make up only a fraction of the student body.  This means
that many more parents will be paying some level of tuition.  Any
“reactionary increase” would drive out paying customers—many of whom are
already subsidizing others who may be getting tuition assistance.
Indeed, if low-income students use vouchers—and are no longer in need of
receiving subsidized tuition by those paying the full tuition
rate—tuition could actually go down, rather than up.

6TEA Party Objection: Does the
SB1 Voucher Program treat all citizens of the Commonwealth equally?  NO,
only low-income families will benefit from the voucher program.

Rebuttal:  The current system doesn’t treat all citizens equally,
but SB1 does make sure that those who need immediate assistance most
get it.  A family of four, earning less than $29,000 would qualify.
Should the voucher be made available to everyone, regardless of income
or school district?  Absolutely.  But no bill has been introduced that
makes the voucher universal.

But SB1 also includes an important increase in the Educational
Improvement Tax Credit scholarship program, whereby a family of four
earning $84,000 would qualify to receive scholarships to attend their
school of choice.  This income level is nearly the double the statewide
average, and clearly benefitting a majority of school-age children.

7. TEA Party Objection:  Does SB1
invite government intrusion into the Private Sector?  YES, Section 2502,
(2) the non-public school is in full compliance with all Federal and
State laws.

SB1 does not require any private school to participate and submit
to any new rules included with the law.  It should be noted that the
Christian, Catholic, and evangelical schools have all been involved in
the crafting of SB1.  There is nothing that prevents the government form
intruding on private schools today.  Eternal vigilance is the price of
liberty, so we must always keep the wolves at bay.

8TEA Party Objection: Does SB1
address the root cause of the problem or identify the anticipated result
of the solution? NO, there is no mention of what is prompting this

Rebuttal: The root cause of the problem is the union monopoly of
public schools, kids and teachers.  The union runs our Communistic-type
system and it cannot be dismantled in one election cycle.  It would be
great to do this overnight, but the power and wealth of the unions is
too great today. We must undermine them piece by piece until we the
people can reclaim our tax money, our kids, and our schools.

School choice, even in small bites, is the key to prying off the
unions’ grip on our kids and schools.  They know it, and it’s why they
are spending millions to defeat SB1.  It is troubling, to say the least,
that liberty-loving folks don’t see this and aiding and abetting the
enemy in this fight.

9TEA Party Objection: Is the
General Assembly providing for the maintenance and support of a thorough
and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of this
Commonwealth?  APPARENTLY NOT because they have introduced SB1 to put a
Band-Aid on a corpse  This is a Big Government solution using tax payer
money reaching into the private sector, where zip code and economics are
being used to determine eligibility.

Rebuttal: So your solution is to keep funding the “corpse”?  As
demonstrated above, SB1 actually begins to REDUCE spending in the
government school system.  Instead of giving the failing system in
Harrisburg $17,675 per kid, the taxpayers would pay for a voucher of
only $8,498 to actually give the child an education.  We then have to
demand that the school board returns the remaining $11,136 to its
rightful owners—us.  How is this a “Big Government solution”?

10. TEA Party Objection:  Is
SB1 Vulnerable to lobbyists and special interests: Any system in which
the government rather than the consumer pays the bills is susceptible to
capture by special interests. Just as teachers’ unions consistently
(and successfully) lobby for higher educational spending to raise
teachers’ salaries, so government-funded vouchers would lead
private school organizations to band together and lobby for larger
vouchers. Since the school organizations would be organized on this
issue, and since parents and other taxpayers are generally not
organized, it is likely that vouchers would increase over time. How
these increases would compare to the rapid growth we have already
witnessed in public school spending is impossible to say. It is
worthwhile to note that when consumers
are responsible for paying
their own way, lobbying is no longer possible: the only way you can
lobby your own customers is to offer better services. This is why
competitive market prices are generally lower than public (government)
costs for similar services–existing private versus public schools are a
case in point.

Rebuttal: Government is always vulnerable to lobbyists and
special interests.  That’s why we need limited government and less
wealth redistribution.  SB1 moves us in that direction, not away from
it.  This is also why the lobbyists and special interests are OPPOSED to
SB1, not for it. 

11.  TEA Party Objection:  Is this a bailout for the
NON-public Schools?  YOU DECIDE. The Catholic School System has been
suffering from enrollment decline for over 10 years.  The Archdiocese of
Philadelphia has lost 34,462 students or about 34 percent of its total
school enrollment since 2001, according to figures provided by the Catholic Church.  Private school enrollment down:

Catholic School Enrollment down:

Rebuttal: A bailout? Hardly.  The overwhelming majority of
private schools are guided by a mission to serve, not make a profit.
It’s the unions who are profiting from the current system that pays high
salaries, unaffordable pension benefits, and premium health care
programs—all at the taxpayers’ expense. By not enacting SB 1 and thus
allowing the current public school monopoly to continue, it is the
public schools and their unions we are propping up and bailout out.

12. Is there a Constitutional financial benefit right now in
SB1 for low to middle income Pennsylvania citizens for
homeschooling/cyber schooling/non-public schooling.
Schools are not included in the bill.  However, non public schools are.
If a family qualifies under the generous EITC program (Education Improvement Tax Credit) it
is possible to receive financial aid.  However, aid varies based on
the number of children in your household, your income and the non-public
school financial aid requirements that you are applying for.

Rebuttal: SB1 expands educational options for many, many
families.  It may not include everyone.  But it certainly isn’t
contracting anyone’s educational options but is an incremental
improvement that will begin busting up the labor unions’ monopoly of
school tax money, kids and teachers.

13. TEA Party objection: Is it the role of government to create competition in the private sector or public sector?  NO

Rebuttal: The problem is that competition is lacking in the
government education system.  SB1 brings more competition into the
current monopoly situation.  Again, this is why the PSEA/PSBA hegemony
is so vehemently opposed to SB1.  Government hates competition and this
is we the people imposing competition on it.


Pa. Bill Takes On ObamaCare

A bill that would prevent significant parts of ObamaCare from being enforced in Pennsylvania has been introduced in the State House where it appears to be languishing in the Appropriations Committee.

HB 42 was introduced
Jan. 19 — two weeks after the session started — by Matthew Baker (R-68) and 61 other representatives.

It prohibits state law enforcement and regulatory agencies from
participating “in compliance with any Federal law, regulation or policy”
that would compromise the “freedom of choice in health care” of any
resident of the state.

The bill also says A law or rule shall not compel, through penalties and fines, directly or indirectly, any individual, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.

It also specifically says that an individual or employer may pay directly for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for doing so; and specifically allows  health care providers to accept direct payments without penalties.

HB 42 was reported out of the House Health Committee on Feb. 7 by a 14-9 party line vote with Delaware County’s Nicholas Micozzie (R-163) and John Sabatina (D-174) not voting. It was submitted to Appropriations the next day which is chaired by Springfield’s own Bill Adolph (R-165).

Adolph was accused of sitting the bill by Steve Lonegan, the director of the New Jersey chapter of Americans For Prosperity, Saturday, at an event sponsored by AFP in Valley Forge. Lonegan encouraged supporters of the bill to contact Adolph’s offices .

Bill Would Ban Bonuses To Pa Workers

A bill that would ban bonuses to state workers is winding its way through the Pennsylvania Senate.

Senate Bill 103 — a.k.a. The Commonwealth Agency Bonus Ban Act — was introduced by Sen. John H. Eichelberger
 (R-30) on Jan. 12 and would ban bonuses to all state employees. This pointedly includes the legislative branch.

Reimbursements for travel expenses, uniforms, cost-of-living adjustments and such would be exempted.

Another bill not getting much ink is SB 271 which would change the rules regarding nominating petitions. According to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9) who introduced it Jan. 26, the the rule changes would make campaign contribution reports available online more quickly.

And in the not-so-clean-and-open category, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati , R-25, announced that he “always intended” to repay gas driller Consol Energy for Super Bowl tickets, airfare and hotel that the Canonsburg-based firm provided him earlier this  month.

People are watching Republicans. The Pennsylvania Senate should start looking for a new President Pro Tempore.