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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Budget ’17

Overall winners in Governor Wolf’s Budget Address this week? Kids. But it’s not all good news…

THE GOOD
EDUCATION: $125 million for publicly funded schools, including $25 million for special education. These K-12 funds support businesses, protects taxpayers, and helps children succeed.
EARLY CHILDHOOD: 8,400 more toddlers will get quality pre-k, which will generate $500M for Pennsylvania as those tots grow. Expanding the Nurse Family Partnership/Home Visiting programs will save at least $45M as children grow.
CHILD HUNGER: $2M for School Breakfast programs is a great start to higher student achievement.
POVERTY: Making childcare more affordable for 1000 families means going to work possible. Increasing the minimum wage to $12/hour will help working families.
EFFICENCY: Combining Depts. of Aging, Drugs and Alcohol, Health and Human Services into one agency means less waste, more for critical services.

THE BAD
PENSION: In today’s political climate and with no new revenues for the state, the Governor’s proposed $125M is significant. But school districts’ costs for pensions will increase by $144M next year. We need legislators to find a solution for pensions before it eats more than just our lunch.
SPECIAL CHARTER COSTS: How much of the $25M for special education will reach students who need them? Thanks to the state’s infamous charter school law, districts must send charters more than $100M in excess special education payments every year—money that the charters are NOT required to spend on special education.

THE UGLY
PUBLIC MONEY FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS: If Harrisburg is so broke and can’t make the major investments our public schools desperately need, why are some lawmakers so eager to toss $75 million in tax breaks to profitable businesses? Rep. Turzai’s HB 250 will leech $75M from the public coffers and directs it to unaccountable vouchers for private schools. Whose business are they minding?
PROPERTY TAX: The Senate is poised to push through the elimination of property taxes, which would cement school funding inequities. Here’s where it gets really ugly: Taxes that impact the poorest will go up as a result.

 

 

URGENT: JOIN @PreK4PA in thanking the governor for putting kids first in his 2017 Budget Address.

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State Sen. Tony Williams decries soda tax because it ‘burdens the poor.’ Senator, is it a burden when Pepsi targets the poor for diabetes and obesity?

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Get behind the push to amend the tax credit law to help school districts repair crumbling schools by PA’s newest congressman Dwight Evans!

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