“Six hours is simply not enough time for even the most diligent House member to find and bring to the attention of the public objectionable provisions - especially considering the multiplicity of other legislation in play around budget time. The 24-hour wait rule was adopted after the controversial midnight pay-raise vote of 2005. It was among the changes recommended by a bipartisan reform commission to improve both transparency and legislative accountability. The new rules are a step in the wrong direction. They violate both the fundamental right of House members to cast an informed vote and the right of the public to give input to their elected representatives. When the House returns to session on Monday, it should reverse these changes.”
Commentary: State House rules violate public's right to view legislation
Inquirer Commentary By Greg Vitali Updated: JANUARY 17, 2017 — 3:01 AM EST
State Rep. Greg Vitali (D., Delaware) represents the 166th Legislative District.
On the first day of the new legislative session, the Pennsylvania House changed its rules to make it easier for leadership to obscure the contents of important legislation from rank-and-file members and the general public. Under the new rules, the House will no longer have to wait 24 hours to vote on bills amended by the Senate. Now, bills can be considered by the House six hours after they come into the public domain. This rule will be most damaging around budget time. Frequently, in the back rooms of the state Capitol, House and Senate leaders surreptitiously insert provisions in large budget-related bills that many House members and the public would find highly objectionable.
Why Pa. school property tax reform won't make your bills go away
By Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on January 17, 2017 at 6:58 AM
The school property tax elimination bill gaining traction in Harrisburg would only allow 2 percent of Pennsylvania's school districts to totally cut their tax levies, according to a new analysis.
The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials released its analysis of HB/SB 76, known as the Property Tax Independence Act, on Monday. The proposed bill calls for raising the state sales tax while expanding it to cover more items, and raising the personal income tax as well. But school districts would be able to continue to collect real estate taxes to pay off existing debt. And most school district debt is issued as 20-year bonds. That's why it could take many years for any Pennsylvania property owner to see a true elimination of their school tax bills. At the same time, some taxpayers will have to pay more in their personal income, sales and use taxes, according to PASBO.
Property Tax Reform and Related Issues
Property tax reform remains an important focus for the legislature in 2017-18, with a property tax elimination proposal taking center stage. While a bill has not yet been introduced in 2017, we assume that the proposal will be similar to that offered in past legislative sessions. The co-sponsorship memo for the bill states that the bill will prohibit school districts from levying a property tax on or after July 1, 2017, with the exception of a limited property tax necessary to fund the debt service existing in a school district as of December 31, 2016. Like past versions of the bill, we expect that to replace local property tax revenue, the statewide PIT would increase from 3.07% to 4.95% and the statewide sales and use tax would increase from 6% to 7% and the list of items and services to which the tax would apply would expand to include the majority of services (such as legal services and mental health services) as well as items such as most food and clothing.
PSBA Webinar: Review and analysis of property tax-shift legislation
JAN 19, 2017 • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Join PSBA and the Pa. Independent Fiscal Office for this complimentary member webinar to discuss the proposed property tax-elimination legislation being considered by state legislators. Learn how the legislation could impact your school district. Presenters include John Callahan, PSBA assistant executive director for public policy; Matthew Knittel, director, and Mark Ryan, deputy director — both of the Pa. Independent Fiscal Office.
Register online here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/647906298333681410
“With public schools still absorbing rising costs and the effects of funding cuts in 2011, district officials are concerned about seeing no increase in state aid next year. “No one has a magic answer, I get that,” said Mark DiRocco, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. “But level funding schools is not an appropriate response and it’s not responsible. We need to make sure our kids get a quality education.”
Village Viuce BY JON CAMPBELL SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2017 AT 5 P.M.
If Donald Trump really wants to “drain the swamp” in Washington, choosing billionaire Michigan GOP activist Betsy DeVos to be education secretary may not be such a bad idea after all; she’s a political operator who has made it her life’s mission to weaken public education, with a proven track record of undermining stable systems. If you want to drown government in the tub, first you need to get your assassin through the bathroom door.
For years DeVos been a high profile proponent of charter schools in her home state, and critics say Michigan’s education system hasn’t fared well for it, with many of the charter schools performing terribly even as they divert resources from the larger system. The only thing that has gotten more attention than her agenda is her tactics. A former head of the state Republican Party and a shrewd political operator, she’s been more than willing to use her vast family fortune, estimated at $5.1 billion, to achieve her ends, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to support pro-charter politicians — or punish those who oppose her. But shoveling money into a race — even if you’re using a backhoe — is of limited value. The effects may not last past the next election cycle. So for decades, DeVos and her family foundation have pursued far wider-reaching and longer-lasting changes by helping systematically weaken the barriers that keep money from flooding American politics. And they’ve been very successful.
Washington, D.C. Phone:(202) 224-4944
COMMUNITY TOWN HALL - SUPPORTING PHILLY IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Tuesday, January 24, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Community College of Philadelphia 1700 Spring Garden Street 19130
Bonnell Building (Large Auditorium BG-20) Entrance Between Spring Garden and Callowhill on N. 17th
Councilmembers Helen Gym, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Jannie Blackwell
Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent, Philadelphia School District
Faculty and Staff Federation, Community College of Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
United Voices for Philadelphia
For more info, or to reserve free childcare for ages 3 and up,
JAN 28, 2017 • 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM Nine Locations Statewide
Jan. 28, 2017 (Snow date: Feb. 11, 2017)
Calling all school board presidents, vice-presidents, and superintendents — Join us for the 3rd Annual PSBA Board Presidents Day held at nine convenient locations around the state.
This is a day of meeting fellow board members from your area and taking part in thought-provoking dialogue about the issues every board faces. PSBA Past President Kathy Swope will start things off with an engaging presentation based on her years as board president at the Lewistown Area School District. Bring your own scenarios to this event to gain perspective from other districts. Cost: $109 per person – includes registration, lunch and materials. All-Access Package applies. Register online by logging in to the Members Area (see the Store/Registration link to view open event registrations, https://www.psba.org/members-area/store-registration/)
Join school directors around the country at the conference designed to give you the tools to advocate successfully on behalf of public education.
- NSBA will help you develop a winning advocacy strategy to help you in Washington, D.C. and at home.
- Attend timely and topical breakout sessions lead by NSBA’s knowledgeable staff and outside experts.
- Expand your advocacy network by swapping best practices, challenges, and successes with other school board members from across the country.
Plan to join public education leaders for networking and learning at the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference, March 25-27 in Denver, CO. General registration is now open at https://www.nsba.org/conference/registration. A conference schedule, including pre-conference workshops, is available on the NSBA website.