Study: Philly Support for Public Schools Is On the Rise

School District of Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco

There is a perception in some circles that the City of Philadelphia has been less than generous when it comes to public schools. But maybe it’s time to rethink that view.

new report from Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics suggests the city has dramatically boosted its financial support for schools in recent years — and that the city’s oft-impoverished residents are carrying a heavier-than-expected tax burden as a result.

The study, “How Well Does Philadelphia Support Its Public Schools? A New Perspective,” avoids concluding that the city “does more than it gets credit for doing.” But it highlights important data: Read more »

Pa. Bill Could Curb Corporate Political Spending

If corporations are going to spend money lobbying government and making campaign contributions, Eddie Pashinski wants to make sure they do so with the consent of their shareholders.

Pashinski, a Luzerne County Democrat in the Pennsylvania House, said this week he will soon introduce a bill requiring shareholder approval of corporate political expenses. The bill, based on similar legislation in Maryland, will bring “fairness and transparency to our system of campaign finance,” Pashinski said in a written memo. Read more »

Cruz Seeks State Audit of School District

cruz schools

A Philly Democrat is once again seeking a state audit of the Philadelphia school district’s finances, saying the district needs to show a “greater level of accountability” for its spending.

Rep. Angel Cruz, who represents a portion of North Philly, sent a memo to colleagues last week, asking for their support of his effort. Read more »

Josh Shapiro Running for Attorney General “To Clean Up a Mess”

In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Josh Shapiro speaks in Harrisburg, Pa. Shapiro will announce his candidacy to be attorney general on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)

In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Josh Shapiro speaks in Harrisburg, Pa. Shapiro will announce his candidacy to be attorney general on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)

When he formally announces his candidacy for attorney general on Tuesday, Josh Shapiro will do so in a three-and-a-half-page letter to Pennsylvanians that never once mentions Kathleen Kane — but that clearly defines her time in office as his reason for running.

“The election will come down to this: Who can lead the office with integrity, who has the judgment and executive experience to clean up a mess, and who has a track record of fighting for our collective values,” Shapiro writes to supporters. Read more »

Pennsylvania Bill Would Do Away With Non-Compete Clauses

A Berks County Democrat is proposing to do away with non-compete clauses in employment contracts, saying they quash innovation and drive workers out of state.

“In particular, small businesses are being harmed most because they cannot afford to incur the cost of paying an employee while the employee waits for a non-compete period to expire,” Rep. Thomas Caltagirone said in a memorandum last week to fellow legislators. “Under the current archaic indentured servitude system, businesses, workers and our economy suffer.” Read more »

Kane Won’t Defend Self in Pa. Senate

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speak during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speak during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

A bipartisan State Senate committee will meet next week to decide whether to recommend Kathleen Kane’s ouster from the attorney general’s office — but Kane won’t be there.

PennLive reports that Kane plans to skip the hearing, even though the hearing could lead to her losing her job. “She may submit something in a statement or she may choose to provide testimony in some other form,” Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo told the website. Read more »

Philly Dem Proposes State Assault Weapon Ban

Guy J. Sagi | Shutterstock.com

Guy J. Sagi | Shutterstock.com

A Philly Democrat wants Pennsylvania to impose an assault weapons ban at the state level.

Sen. Larry Farnese on Tuesday sent colleagues a memo urging the ban, as well as a resolution calling on Congress to reimpose an assault weapons ban at the federal level.

“In the absence of a federal ban, a statewide assault weapons ban is a commonsense approach to curtailing gun violence,” he wrote. Read more »

A Modest Proposal to End State Budget Impasse: Fire Half the Pa. Legislature

harrisburg in half

I’ve got a solution to the ongoing budget crisis in Harrisburg — let’s tear down the General Assembly and start over again.

Let’s abolish the Pennsylvania House, govern the state with a unicameral legislature elected from our current Senate districts, and make our state government finally, belatedly effective.

It’s an extreme solution, sure, but the problem is extreme: We start 2016 without 2015’s budget work complete. And it’s not like this is a new problem: Tom Corbett’s run of on-time budgets aside — his only real accomplishment — late budgets occur so often that they appear to be a feature, not a bug, of Harrisburg governance. There is zero reason to believe this year’s budget process, due to start in just a few weeks, will go any better than last year’s. Read more »

Late on Taxes? Didn’t File? A “Tax Amnesty” Could Help You Make Things Right.

(Creativa Images/Shutterstock)

(Creativa Images/Shutterstock)

Maybe you put off paying your taxes a little too long. Maybe you never filed in the first place. If that’s the case — and you’re worried about state government cracking down on you — some good news may be in the offing: A tax amnesty could be on the way.

Rep. Marguerite Quinn, a Bucks County Republican is proposing a tax amnesty to give scofflaws a chance to make good while at the same time raising fresh funds for state government. Taxpayers seeking amnesty would receive reduced interest on their unpaid taxes, as well as a eduction of other penalties. Read more »

Wolf Calls Republican Budget “Ridiculous” “Garbage.” Promises Line-Item Veto

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Wolf says he is rejecting parts of a $30.3 billion state budget plan that's already a record six months overdue, but he's freeing up over $23 billion in emergency funding.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Wolf says he is rejecting parts of a $30.3 billion state budget plan that’s already a record six months overdue, but he’s freeing up over $23 billion in emergency funding.

Last week, in a pre-Christmas shocker, the state’s Senate — contrary to reports that they’d reached an agreement with Gov. Tom Wolf on his “framework” budget — reversed course and signed off on the House’s “stopgap” version of the state spending bill. When Wolf’s swift response did not include the word “veto” (he’d previously promised to strike down the stopgap version should it make it to his desk), many wondered if the state’s protracted, damaging and — let’s be frank — embarrassing budget standoff had finally ended.

Not so fast! In a statement yesterday, Wolf showed his veto pen is not just for show. Read more »

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