The Truth About Education Spending in Pennsylvania

Ben Franklin once said, “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” If he lived in Pennsylvania today, he might have an addition to his list: claims of underfunding by the education establishment. But repeating a falsehood doesn’t make it true. Here’s the truth about education funding.

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Three Ways Pennsylvania Should Spend American Rescue Plan Funds

How should the commonwealth use this massive surplus of federal dollars? The temptation might be to simply pay off our budget deficit. The IFO projects that over the next five years, Pennsylvania will run annual deficits of $2.0-2.7 billion.[i] The pandemic did not create the deficit, though Gov. Wolf’s emergency spending did make it worse. But, in fact, Pennsylvania has long had a structural deficit—spending far exceeds revenue no matter how well the economy performs. Recent tax increases over the past decade have done little to close the gap.

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A Brief History of Tom Wolf's Tax Hike Proposals

Since taking office seven years ago, Governor Wolf has proposed or supported 14 tax hikes on working families.

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Supplemental Appropriations

Supplemental appropriation is another term for overspending. In theory, this practice covers unforeseeable expenses, but it has become a normal part of the state budget process.

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Public Sector Union 2020 Election Spending

Public sector union political action committees (PAC) spent $16.7 million in Pennsylvania during the 2019–2020 election cycle, principally on behalf of Democratic politicians.

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Opportunity Finds a Way

The 2018-19 budget increased EITC by $25 million, providing an additional 8,000 student scholarships. Each child deserves an exceptional education—one that fits their unique gifts and talents. Parents should have control over where and how their children are educated. Since the inception of tax credit scholarships nearly 20 years ago, hundreds of thousands of low- to middle-income Pennsylvania kids have received their educational lifelines through the EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) and OSTC (Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit) programs. But arbitrary caps on these popular programs limit scholarships. We now have the data to show that scholarship waiting lists are reduced when the program limits are raised.

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Downsides of the Minimum Wage

The number of minimum wage earners has declined in both absolute numbers and as a percentage of the workforce. In other words, while the number of workers has grown the number of minimum wage earners has shrunk, that is individuals are earning more without increases to the minimum wage.

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Steps to Enhance Election Integrity

In 2020, Pennsylvania’s newly amended election law struggled under unprecedented mail-in voting, yet last minute state guidance and judicial decisions not only skirted election law, but further delayed results and exacerbated confusion and concern for future elections.

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Corporate Welfare in 3 Charts

The Governor’s Executive budget includes updated estimates for spending on corporate welfare, which is government favoritism of one sector or business over others. This favoritism is disquised under less innocuous terms such as economic development subsidies, investments, tax credits, etc.

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How to Vote in Pennsylvania