BLUE PENNSYLVANIA - THE BEGINNING AND THE END

READER ALERT! IF YOU DON’T READ ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS EMAIL, PLEASE READ THE SECTION WHY THIS ELECTION IS SO IMPORTANT, AND THEN THINGS TO DO AT THE END!!! OF COURSE, THE MIDDLE PART (I.E. THE BUDGET STUFF) IS IMPORTANT TOO, SO READ THAT AS WELL IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE!

WHY THIS ELECTION IS SO IMPORTANT

Two reasons:

(1)You may already know that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of North Carolina v. Harper, which will test “The Independent State Doctrine” – a theory that takes the language of two clauses of the U.S. Constitution at face value.

One clause reads, “The Times, Places and Manner of hold­ing Elec­tions for Senat­ors and Repres­ent­at­ives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legis­lature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regu­la­tions.”

Another clause reads, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legis­lature thereof may direct, a Number of Elect­ors.”

These clauses gained popularity within the GOP upon the realization that most state legislatures across nation are dominated by Republicans. A strict interpretation of these clauses would legitimize gerrymandering, poll taxes and any other number of inequities in the election system. And even if Democrats could prevail in a Presidential election, it would not matter, since, according to the second clause, Republicans can choose the electors they – rather than the people – want.

Unfortunately, this is not hyperbole, since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has proven that the Supreme Court is willing to forego the constitutional principle of checks and balances to legislate women’s health issues. If we can elect even one house of a Democratic dominated legislature this fall, The Supreme Court might be willing to reign in its judicial activism in North Carolina v. Harper.

(2)Many organizations have already reported on the General Assembly vote late last Friday, on a proposed state constitutional amendment which stipulates that the state constitution “does not grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion.” While the language of this bill will have no immediate effect over women’s health, it may make challenges to new and existing state laws more difficult to pursue within the state’s judicial system.

Republicans have been legislating bills of this type with greater frequency over the past few years. The reason for their popularity within the GOP is that they don’t need the governor’s signature to proceed into law. The only provisions for such constitutional amendments is that they need to pass in two consecutive sessions of the legislature, before appearing as a question on an election ballot. Voters almost always approve ballot questions. Electing even one Democratic house to the general assembly will stymie this amendment, and others equally as bad.

THE NEW BUDGET

On the face of it, there is a lot to like in the new state budget. An increase of $831.1 million would go to K-12 education, with an additional $225 million going to 100 of the state’s poorest school districts, such as Philadelphia, Chester-Upland, Norristown, Pottstown, and Reading.

Also, the remaining $2.2 million in federal stimulus money will go to:

clean water for state residents, the rehabilitation and repair of state parks, the maintenance of water and sewer systems, farmland preservation, homeowners and landlords for repairs and other types of maintenance, developers of housing units for low income tenants, property tax relief for older and infirm Pennsylvanians, child care providers, nursing homes, law enforcement, mental health issues, libraries, arts and culture non-profits, biotech research, utility relief, and unemployment compensation.

While facets of this budget are very generous for all of the people, programs, and organizations listed above, there are other provisions in the final agreement that may prove to be harmful to these groups in the long run. Among them are:

Educational tax credits (a type of school voucher in Pennsylvania) will increase by $100 million, or 43% over last year’s allotment;

The removal of Wolf’s update to the state’s charter school regulations, which will enable these schools to continue to drain significant resources from many school districts that are already struggling;

Probably the worst aspect of this budget is that it will reduce Pennsylvania’s corporate tax rate from 9.99% to 4.99% over the next eight years. Yes, Pennsylvania’s corporate tax is the second highest in the nation, but only about 39% of all corporations pay this tax, thanks to practices such as the Delaware loophole.

According to Marc Stier, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, “The huge corporate tax cut reveals the Republicans’ pose as guardians of responsible budgeting to be a bad joke. They claim credit for putting $2.1 billion in the Rainy Day Fund. Yet that’s less than the revenues that will ultimately be lost, year after year when the corporate tax cut provisions are fully in place.

Even with all the additional money coming into the education budget this fiscal year, Pennsylvania school districts remain grossly and unfairly underfunded. The cut in state revenues will therefore make future attempts to bring equal and adequate educational funding to Pennsylvania much more difficult – whatever the court ruling is on this issue, which is due to come out later this summer.

THINGS TO DO

KNOCK DOORS

Wednesdays in Horsham:

Wednesdays from 4-6 for Melissa Cerrato for State Rep. SIGN UP HERE.

If you would like to carpool from High Point Allen Lane, please also email geomstern@gmail.com

Saturday, July 16 at 11 AM. Canvass for Tim Brennan for State Rep in Chalfont. SIGN UP HERE

If you would like to carpool from High Point Allens Lane, please email andreakoplove@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 17 at 12 PM. Canvass for Senator Maria Collett and Melissa Cerrato for State Rep. SIGN UP HERE.

If you would like to carpool from High Point Allens Lane, please email andreakoplove@gmail.com.

POSTCARDS

TUESDAYS FROM 10 AM-12 PM

Join us outside to write postcards together for our state legislative candidates. We’ll be writing for Senator Katie Muth and State Rep Candidate Paul Friel. Postcard stamp donations are always appreciated!

If you can’t make it to Allens Lane but would like to write postcards, please contact Patti at pafeuerstein@gmail.com to pick up a postcard kit in East Falls. Kits include postcards in multiples of 30, address labels, and instructions. You’ll need to complete and return your postcards to Patti by July 22. Postcard stamp donations are appreciated if you can swing it.

MAKE CALLS

Make Calls with Team Fetterman: Virtual event. Join from anywhere.

Mondays and Wednesdays

6 – 8pm EDT

Sign up here

Phone Bank for Erie County

Tuesdays, Thursdays

5:30 - 7:30 pm EDT

Sign up here

Allegheny County Phonebank for Democrats!

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

6pm EDT + 2 more times

Sign up here

FUNDRAISER FOR MELISSA CERRATO FOR STATE REP

Local activists and volunteers are hosting a fundraiser in Mt Airy on August 9, from 6-8 PM, for Melissa Cerrato. We hope you can join! SIGN UP & DONATE HERE.

Recent Posts

See All

Click here to find out who your federal and state legislators are.