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Blue Pennsylvania: Earth Month, the Economy, and Education

Updated: Apr 25

It’s been one heck of a crazy week.  Earth Day, Passover, Primary Election Day.  Now that the primary is over in Pennsylvania, most of us are looking ahead to November 4.  But, as taxpayers, and beneficiaries of the services the state of Pennsylvania provides to us, it may be just as important to circle June 30, the deadline for the state budget, on your calendars.


You may recall that a few budgets back, the General Assembly approved descending corporate tax cuts for Pennsylvania.  What started out at the beginning of this decade at 9.99% will be reduced to 4.99% by 2031.  Republicans tell us that these tax cuts will bring businesses to the state, and with those businesses will come new jobs


Yet while conservatives are very vocal about this new economic Utopia, they are mum on the matter of all of the new state revenues that such a burgeoning economy should yield.  It is therefore rather odd that at the same time they are exuberant over explosive business expansion brought on by the tax cuts, they are also accepting of the Independent Fiscal Office’s (IFO) report showing a structural deficit in Pennsylvania’s budget, which “assumes a reversion to ‘normal’ economic growth”.  In other words, they believe in increased economic growth and normal economic growth simultaneously. 


What is so convenient about accepting the structural budget deficit in the IFO report is that it provides an argument against spending more money on such line items as public education and public transportation.  Of course, something that Republicans will never bring up is that one of the major causes of the deficit is in fact the corporate tax cuts themselves.


And the reality attests to the fact that education, rather than low taxes, is a pretty good predictor of a state’s economic success.  Although we know that economic success is closely linked to education, we cannot assert such success is caused by education.  We can, however, make a pretty good case that a well educated workforce is more important to prospective businesses than low taxes.


And speaking of state revenues, and the fact that we are currently celebrating Earth Month, it may be a good time to reflect on a study conducted last year by the University of Pennsylvania, informing us that the state could increase its revenues somewhere between $101 million and $148 million by 2030 through the sales of carbon “allowances” under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  But since Republicans have stymied the program in Pennsylvania through legal action, both the ratepayers and the taxpayers in the state are suffering the consequences. 





Canvass for Ashley Ehasz

As you know, Brian Fitzpatrick has been a disappointment on several fronts over the past year.  From voting MAGA Republican Mike Johnson to the U.S. House Speaker’s seat, to voting to impeach Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, Fitzpatrick has proven to be anything but a moderate.  You can do something about that.  This Saturday, from 12 – 3 pm, you can canvass for Fitzpatrick’s Democratic opponent – Ashley Ehasz by signing up here.


Blue Pennsylvania Interest Survey

If you are interested in joining our efforts to help Democrats win in 2024, please consider filling out this survey here.


K-12 Advocacy Day

Join Children First and education advocates from across the state on May 8, to visit you state representatives and senators, asking them to support the governor’s seven-year education budget, that would enable the state to fund all 500 school districts adequacy and equitably.  Sign up here.


Support House Bill 2063

Don’t settle for expensive snake oil as a remedy for proper educational funding.  According to the state's Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania has one of the most problematic educational tax credit programs in the nation.  HB 2063 addresses many of the problems cited in the IFO report.  Please consider sending a letter to your state rep in support of this bill.  You can do so here.




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