Gov. Wolf’s 'Schools That Teach' public relations tour and statewide ad campaigns supporting him aren’t telling voters the truth about the budget impasse or the governor's tax proposal.
The Commonwealth Foundation has long advocated for an education funding formula based on student enrollment and student need. This afternoon, the Basic Education Funding Commission released a report that aligns with those objectives.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently released new expenditure and revenue figures for the 2013-14 school year. This memo presents trends in school spending, revenue, pension contributions, district fund balances, and property tax increases.
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School districts have borrowed $346 million—and taxpayers will pay to pay up to $11 million in interest payments—as a result of Gov. Wolf’s budget vetoes, according to a report from Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
DePasquale noted that this borrowing is due to the lack of tax dollars flowing out of Harrisburg—despite the fact the state is certainly still taking money from taxpayers.
At the press conference announcing these findings, Sen. Scott Wagner stood up to say he’s tired of taking blame for Gov. Wolf’s actions. That is, the House and Senate passed a budget—and subsequently passed a temporary funding plan—but Gov. Wolf’s vetoes denied funding for schools and social services.
Sen. Wagner is right. The only person to blame for schools having to borrow money is Gov. Tom Wolf, who vetoed the original budget in its entirety—rather than using the line-item veto as previous governors have done—and the temporary stop-gap measure.
Wolf says his vetoes are about education funding, but are they really?
Education spending is already at an all-time high, while Pennsylvania ranks among the highest spending states. The Republican-passed budget would have increased aid to public schools by another $350 million (and $1.4 billion more than four years ago).
Republicans even offered Gov. Wolf $300 million above that total.
Gov. Wolf thinks that’s not enough, and continues to cling to his demand for higher taxes on working families.
But there can be no doubt, Wolf is the only reason schools are struggling to make payroll.
With the state budget impasse in its third month, funding for critical things such as education and social services remains in question.
CF’s Elizabeth Stelle spoke with WHYY’s Marty Moss-Coane and opposite Keystone Research Center’s Stephen Herzenberg regarding the impasse and why a compromise has not been reached in Harrisburg.
Among the key points at issue in the budget discussion have been education funding, Wolf's proposed severance tax, pension reform, and liquor privatization.
While Gov. Wolf claims to have made concessions on everything, his “compromise” contains most of his original plans to hike taxes on hardworking Pennsylvanians. And despite the legislature's offer to meet in the middle, the governor continues to push for income and sales tax increases.
Click here or listen below to hear Elizabeth explain what can be done to pass a taxpayer-friendly and fiscally responsible budget.
Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane airs weekdays 10-11 a.m. and 11-noon.
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On June 30, state lawmakers passed a budget that offers $10.4 billion in state support for public schools. This represents an all-time high—indeed, an increase from last year’s all-time high—and represents a $1 billion increase since 2010-11.
Recently, legislative leaders offered Gov. Wolf a deal that would increase education spending by another $300 million. At the time of this writing, Gov. Wolf is “still considering” this offer. The governor is struggling to take "yes" for an answer.
The chart below compares the budget passed by the General Assembly, the compromise offered by Republican leaders, and Governor Wolf's proposal (which comes with $8 billion annually in new taxes on working families).