Category Archives: budget crisis

Wolf’s Challenge: PA ‘One of the Worst’ in Funding Its Schools

Schools, Parents Sue Pennsylvania Over ‘Educational Caste System’

 By Deirdre Fulton

Beaver County Blue via Common Dreams

Nov. 11, 2014 – Six school districts, seven parents, and two statewide associations sued [1] the commonwealth of Pennsylvania on Monday, claiming legislative leaders, state education officials, and the governor have failed to uphold the state’s constitutional obligation to provide a system of public education that gives all children the resources they need to meet state-imposed academic standards and "participate meaningfully in the economic, civic, and social life of their communities."

According to the complaint [2] (pdf), "state officials have adopted an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangement that drastically underfunds school districts across the Commonwealth and discriminates against children on the basis of the taxable property and household incomes in their districts."

"The disparity in education resources has created an educational caste system that the Commonwealth must eliminate." —Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

As a result, the plaintiffs claim that hundreds of thousands of students throughout the state lack basic educational supports and services—functioning school libraries, up-to-date textbooks and curriculum materials, reasonable class sizes, guidance counselors, school nurses, vocational-ed and college prep classes, academic tutoring programs, and more.

"My child is in classes with too many other students and she has no access to tutoring services or support from paraprofessionals, but our elected officials still expect and require her to pass standardized tests," said [3] Jamela Millar, parent of 11-year-old K.M., a student in the William Penn School District. "How are kids supposed to pass the tests required to graduate high school, find a job and contribute to our economy if their schools are starving for resources?"

The state NAACP and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools joined the suit on behalf of their members. Urban, suburban, and rural districts are represented among the plaintiffs. While the state-run Philadelphia School District did not join the legal action, two Philadelphia parents are part of the suit and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers issued a statement in support on Monday.

Continue reading Wolf’s Challenge: PA ‘One of the Worst’ in Funding Its Schools

Will Pennsylvania Take North Carolina’s Austerity Path?

PA House GOP Budget Will Kill Jobs And Slow Economic Growth

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Beaver County Blue via Phillylabor.com

The state legislature will convene on Monday, June 3rd to begin crafting a final 2013-2014 budget. We need to make sure that the state budget supports all working families in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is facing a $500 million deficit. We rank 49th in the nation in job creation, which is reflected by our high unemployment rate. Governor Corbett has cut state funding by $1 billion to our school districts since he took office in 2011, while giving a $1 billion tax break to businesses. In February, Governor Corbett proposed yet another budget that is not in Pennsylvania’s best interest, making even more cuts in education and other areas necessary to keep our great state running. Corbett’s budget continues the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT), costing taxpayers approximately $365 million a year, and fails to expand Medicaid, which would insure half a million hard-working, low income Pennsylvanians at very little cost to the State.

On Wednesday, May 29, House Republican leaders introduced a 2013-2014 budget that is $100 million less than Governor Corbett’s budget that he proposed in February.

Continue reading Will Pennsylvania Take North Carolina’s Austerity Path?

More Arrested as North Carolina Legislature Protests vs. Austerity and Racism Continue

Click photo for video

By CHRIS KARDISH

Beaver County Blue via AP

May 6, 2013 – RALEIGH — More than two dozen members of the NAACP and other activists were arrested Monday as part of continuing protests of Republican policies in the state capital, bringing to dozens the number of nonviolent demonstrators facing charges.

The demonstrators were arrested Monday by Raleigh and General Assembly police. The number of arrests, as well as the size of the crowd that turned out to offer support, grew from last Monday’s demonstrations, when 17 were arrested.

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver said law enforcement officials decided to admit them despite last week’s arrests while they determine what the law permits. He said those arrested most recently will face the same charges of second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse on command and the displaying of signs or placards, which violates building rules.

The group arrested Monday included Barber’s 20-year-old son, William Joseph Barber III, a student at North Carolina Central University; William Chafe, former dean of Arts and Sciences at Duke University; Robert Korstad, a professor of public policy and history at Duke; Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, an historian at the University of North Carolina; Charles van der Horst, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and members of the social justice group Raging Grannies.

“I started in 1954 at the Youth March for Integrated Schools in New York,” said Vicki Ryder of Raging Grannies. “I’ve been doing this for a long time.”

Continue reading More Arrested as North Carolina Legislature Protests vs. Austerity and Racism Continue

Philly Worst Big City for People in Deep Poverty, with Pittsburgh Not Far Behind

Labor Day protest for minimum wage hike. Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty of any of the nation’s 10 most populous cities. The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it’s around $11,700. Philadelphia’s deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people.

By Alfred Lubrano
Philadelphia Inquirer

March 19, 2013 – Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty – people with incomes below half of the poverty line – of any of the nation’s 10 most populous cities.

The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it’s around $11,700.

Philadelphia’s deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people.

Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas are the nearest to Philadelphia, with deep-poverty rates of more than 10 percent.

The numbers come from an examination of the 2009 through 2011 three-year estimate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey by The Inquirer and Temple University sociologist David Elesh.

Of the 4,300,000 people living in the area around Philadelphia, there are nearly 160,000 in deep poverty – a rate of 3.6 percent – in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Salem, Gloucester, Burlington, and Camden Counties as well as New Castle County, Del., and Cecil County, Md., Elesh’s analysis showed.

Nationwide, more than 20 million people live in deep poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

These deep-poverty numbers don’t include noncash benefits such as food stamps, which help families survive, experts said.

The Philadelphia deep-poverty figure wasn’t a complete surprise for antipoverty advocates, since the city already has the highest poverty rate – 28.4 percent – of any of America’s biggest cities.

Continue reading Philly Worst Big City for People in Deep Poverty, with Pittsburgh Not Far Behind

Progressive ‘Back to Work’ Budget Wins Praise for Anti-Austerity Approach

‘A reminder that we don’t need to cut teachers and school lunches when we can eliminate wasteful giveaways to fossil fuel corporations.’  Watch Rep. Keith Ellison introduce the budget here:

By Jon Queally 
Beaver County Blue via CommonDreams.org

March 14, 2013 – In the midst of ongoing hysteria about a ‘non-existent deficit crisis’ in Washington, the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday unveiled an alternative approach to destructive austerity economics by releasing their ‘Back to Work Budget’ plan for 2014.

Pushing back specifically on the dominant talking point of inside-the-Beltway elites, the budget challenges the idea that cutting programs, reducing corporate tax rates, and slashing investments is a pathway to economic prosperity. Its proponents argue the US does not have "a deficit crisis"—as those pushing for steep cuts suggest—but rather, "a jobs crisis."

Presented by CPC co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison and backed by members of the caucus’ Budget Task force—Reps. Jim McDermott, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan—the plan describes how smart investments, not deep cuts to key programs, would create almost 7 million jobs over the first year of its implementation.

“Americans face a choice,” Grijalva and Ellison said. “We can either cut Medicare benefits to pay for more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or we can close outdated tax loopholes and invest in jobs. We choose investment.”

They continue:

    The Back to Work Budget invests in America’s future because the best way to reduce our long-term deficit is to put America back to work. In the first year alone, we create nearly 7 million American jobs and increase GDP by 5.7%. We reduce unemployment to near 5% in three years with a jobs plan that includes repairing our nation’s roads and bridges, and putting the teachers, cops and firefighters who have borne the brunt of our economic downturn back to work. We reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion by closing tax loopholes and asking the wealthy to pay a fair share. We repeal the arbitrary sequester and the Budget Control Act that are damaging the economy, and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, which provide high quality, low-cost medical coverage to millions of Americans when they need it most. This is what the country voted for in November. It’s time we side with America’s middle class and invest in their future.

Received as a breath of fresh air of economic sanity, the plan was praised by a variety of individuals and groups.

Continue reading Progressive ‘Back to Work’ Budget Wins Praise for Anti-Austerity Approach

The Myth of the Job Creator

[Editor’s Note: Not only is increased demand in the form of increased purchase orders the real spur to new hiring, it’s also important that the demand be targeted. Increasing demand for goods produced in China at Walmart, for example, will create jobs in China. But if we increase demand for domestic goods and services by building local infrastructure such as the ‘Smart Grid’ and other clean and green energy projects, then much of the demand will be for increased local labor and local goods.]

By RP Watkins
Beaver County Blue via Daily Kos

The popular notion of the so-called “Job Creator” is a myth. Yet the very idea of Job Creators represents the most basic argument in the Supply Side story, a concept which postulates that economic growth requires expanding the means of production. The term Job Creator has been repeated and spun so frequently on Capitol Hill and across America, almost exclusively from Conservatives, that it has become accepted wisdom that job growth is determined by the means of production, the supply-side of the economy. It is not.

The reason is so stunningly simple and basic that it’s almost entirely invisible by politicians and pundits alike. This is because contrary to the supply-side mantra, most businesses are unwilling to expand hiring unless the new jobs are justified by sufficient Market Demand. It is for this reason that the popular supply-side policies of tax cuts and credits have done little to stimulate domestic hiring. If anything businesses have converted the government largesse of lower taxes into enhanced profitability, with little in the way of new jobs materializing.

Continue reading The Myth of the Job Creator