BLUE PENNSYLVANIA: BUCKS FOR BUCKS

Let’s get real. Democrats do make mistakes. We need to look no further than how the vaccine distribution program has played out across the state. Democratic Philadelphia has had its share of screw-ups, highlighted by the Philly fighting COVID fiasco. Outside of the city, the state Democratic administration* has distributed far fewer doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the suburban counties than to other parts of the state. Democrats and Republicans in the Delaware Valley have rightfully criticized both the city and state leaders for their missteps.

In Philadelphia’s suburbs, the Democratic controlled county governments have demanded more state transparency in the distribution process.

Taking a cue from State Rep. Martina White’s statement that: “This is all about vaccine equality”; Republican Bucks County legislators introduced House Bill 756, requiring the state to distribute the coronavirus vaccine according to population.

These same legislators, however, do not see the irony of protesting the unequal treatment their constituents have received regarding the coronavirus vaccine, while tolerating the state’s under-funding the school districts in which their constituents reside.

In the last legislative session, two bills concerning fair funding circulated in the State House: Democrat Chris Rabb’s HB 961, and Republican Jim Cox’s HB 1313. Both bills had bi-partisan support. Missing however, from the list of co-sponsors were the names of most of those Bucks County legislators mentioned above.

Below is a table of the Bucks County legislators co-sponsoring HB 756, along with the school districts that fall within their jurisdiction, and whether they supported the two fair funding bills in the last session.

School funding is often an invisible issue. If families don’t have school age children attending public schools, they normally do not care how schools are funded. That is, until they receive their property tax notices. To be clear, HB 961 and HB 1313 will not raise taxes. They would simply redistribute the education dollars to the needier districts throughout the state, which might actually translate into a property tax reduction for the school districts mentioned in the above table.

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