January 12: Closing The Gap

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🌂 Waynesburg | Mostly Cloudy, Rain Arriving, 48
☁ Blain | Increasing Clouds, 44
☁ Allentown | Increasing Clouds, 45

PA Sports
🏈 Steelers (NFL Playoffs) | Sun vs. Buffalo
🏀 Sixers (23-13) | Fri vs. Sacramento
🏒 Flyers (21-14-6) | Fri vs. Minnesota | Sat vs. Winnipeg
🏒 Penguins (20-16-4) | Vancouver 3-4 (OT) | Sat vs. Carolina

What’s Happening Today
President Joe Biden will visit the Allentown area to visit various small businesses.

What We’re Hearing
“This is the end of the beginning. There’s still a whole lot of work to do.” – Basic Education Funding Commission co-chair Rep. Mike Sturla.

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Rep. Nick Pisciottano and Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (Sun.)

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Top Story

1. Democrats’ Education Funding Report Says Pennsylvania Owes $5B More To School Districts

“A commission reviewing how Pennsylvania distributes money to public schools narrowly approved a report Thursday that suggests the state is underfunding districts by more than $5 billion and should begin immediately to close that gap.

The vote on the report by the Basic Education Funding Commission was backed by Democrats and members of Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration. Republicans and one Democrat on the commission opposed it, resulting in an 8-7 vote.

A key recommendation in the report said the state should immediately begin to close a school funding gap of more than $5 billion, phasing in the increased aid over seven years.” (AP)


Split Decision: Democrats’ Education Proposal Calls For Additional $5.4B in Funding. “By an 8-7 vote, the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEF) adopted a Democratic-backed report that addresses the Commonwealth Court decision in William Penn School District, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et al.” (PoliticsPA)

  • Pennsylvania Needs To Spend $5.4B To Close Gap Between Rich And Poor Schools, Report Advanced By Dems Says. (Spotlight PA)


Democratic Group Plans $140 Million Voter Testimonial Onslaught Against Donald Trump. “The effort will focus on appealing to working class women in the northern swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.” (Washington Post)

Shapiro, Fetterman Say Trump Should Remain On Pennsylvania’s Ballot. “We don’t have any legal authority to remove anyone from the ballot here in Pennsylvania,” said Governor Josh Shapiro.” (ABC27)



2. Republicans Continue to Make Voter Registration Gains in Commonwealth

PA Voter Registration Map 1/8/2024

“According to the Pennsylvania Department of State figures from January 8, Democrats continue to hold an advantage in registration over Republicans in the Commonwealth. Among the 8.6 million registered voters, there are 3.894 million Dems (44.9%) to 3.461 million GOP voters (40.0%). There are 964,559 registered voters with no affiliation (11.1%) and 344,382 voters signed on with a myriad of other parties.

Republicans have continued to make gains in registration since our last report on October 23, 2023. The GOP has picked up 10,331 new affiliates, while Dems lost 3,185 from their flock. The big winner was those who are not affiliated with a party as independents.” (PoliticsPA)


Study Finds PA Tax System Ranks As One Of The Most Regressive. “The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy cited the Keystone State’s flat rate income tax of 3.07% as the driving factor in a system that taxes the poorest 20% of Pennsylvanians an average of 15.1% of their income but the top 1% just 6%.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

SD-45: Pisciottano Looks to Succeed Brewster in Senate. “Rep. Nick Pisciottano was elected twice to the Pennsylvania State House and now he seeks to repeat the feat in 2024 for a seat in the Pennsylvania State Senate.” (PoliticsPA)

SD-31: Keefer Announces For State Senate. “The chair of the Pennsylvania State House Freedom Caucus – Rep. Dawn Keefer – has announced her candidacy for State Senate in the 31st District.” (PoliticsPA)

DLCC Names Prokopiak First Spotlight Candidate Of 2024. “The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) named Jim Prokopiak, who is seeking to replace the retiring John Galloway in the state House, as one of its spotlight candidates for 2024.” (Penn Capital-Star)

Republicans Looking To Run For Kaufer’s House Seat. “Several Republicans are planning to run for state Rep. Aaron Kaufer’s seat in the House amid speculation that the Republican incumbent will not seek another term this year.” (Times-Tribune)

We Asked, You Answered: What Would You Like To See The State Legislature Accomplish In 2024? “Establish a livable minimum wage? Make significant progress toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use? Stronger gun safety legislation? Find out what your fellow Pennsylvanians want lawmakers in Harrisburg to get done in 2024.” (The Keystone)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Biden’s Allentown-Area Visit Will Highlight The Community As An Economic Success Story

Allentown, PA | Find Hotels, Events, Attractions & Restaurants

President Joe Biden will travel to the Allentown area on Friday, where he will visit with small business owners and local officials to make the case that Bidenomics is to thank for the region’s economic rebound.

Michael Negron, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, said on a Thursday call with reporters that Biden’s visit would serve to “highlight how communities that for too long had been left behind by the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past are now making an economic comeback.” (Penn Capital-Star)

  • Here’s What You Need To Know About President Joe Biden’s Visit To The Allentown Area Friday. (Morning Call)



DA Larry Krasner Files Suit To Quash State’s Special SEPTA Prosecutor As Unconstitutional. “Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, who has clashed with Krasner, signed the law in a December budget deal. Transit funding was left out.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

A Democratic Shake-Up In The Mon Valley May Bring New Faces But Familiar Names To Political Office. “By now, “Democrats in disarray” headlines have become a running political joke, one almost as familiar as Will Rogers’ observation that as a Democrat, he was not a member of an organized political party. But some Democrats in the Mon Valley, at least, seem very much in array this week — so much so that critics are grousing about that instead.” (WESA Politics)

A Look Back At Clout’s Top Moments As Its Lead Reporter Says Goodbye. “If the Clout column had a Mount Rushmore, which four faces would you expect to see carved in the granite up there?” (Philadelphia Inquirer)



4. What’s On Your Mind

  • Pennsylvania GOP Should Thank Shapiro For Voter Registration Expansion. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Biden, The Black Vote, And America’s Unkept Promises. (Solomon Jones)
  • A Vote For Trump Ignores Everything About The Past, Especially Jan. 6. (Nancy Eshelman)
  • Americans Must Come Together To Save Democracy. (Dr. Richard A. French)
  • People Are Being Sex Trafficked In PA — Maybe Just Down Your Street. (Sen. Dan Laughlin)
  • MLK And The Limitless Legacy Of Hope. (James Peterson)
  • The State Of Education In Pennsylvania — Where Are We? (Dr. Myra Forrest)


1 Hockey Thing

5. Costas’ Johnstown Connection

Mike Mastovich | Costas' return to War Memorial bookends incredible broadcasting career | Sports | tribdem.com

Bob Costas, one of the most recognizable and respected personalities in sports television broadcasting, has a storied connection to Johnstown and 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.

Another chapter is about to unfold in the hockey saga.

Costas will be among the main figures during Johnstown Hockey Heritage Weekend. It will cap a long journey that began in the days when he earned $30 a game and $5 meal money to cover the (Syracuse) Blazers against the (Johnstown) Jets.” (Tribune-Democrat)


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By: Steve Ulrich
Title: January 12: Closing The Gap
Sourced From: www.politicspa.com/january-12-closing-the-gap/130590/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=january-12-closing-the-gap
Published Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2024 13:25:00 +0000

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I'm a writer for lifestyle publications, and when I'm not crafting stories, you'll find me cherishing moments with my family, including my lovely daughter. My heart also belongs to my pets—Sushi, Snowy, Belle, and Pepper. Besides writing, I enjoy watching movies and exploring new places through travel.