The Update: What’s Happening in Harrisburg and DC – November 22, 2021



The education funding trial is rolling and we are releasing research that shows how schools have been funded inequitably for decades. Read about our findings as well as updates on the Build Back Better bill moving through Congress.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Herzenberg
Executive Director

In Pennsylvania Schools, The Kids Who Need the Most Get the Least

Marc Stier | 11/11/21
Last week, a trial began in Commonwealth Court to determine whether Pennsylvania is meeting its constitutional responsibility to give every student an adequate and equitable education.
By the standards the state of Pennsylvania sets for itself, it does not. Only 16% of school districts provide an adequate level of funding. And our analysis of the distribution of school funding relative to the share of students who are living in poverty or who are Black or Hispanic reveals inequities that are striking, immoral, and unconstitutional.


Uncovering Pennsylvania’s School Funding Disparity by Income

Eugene Henninger-Voss | 11/11/2021
Relative to what they need, Pennsylvania’s poorest school districts receive 35% less funding than its richest. The incredible inequities in the economic fortunes of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts are not overcome by the current attempts by the state and federal government to provide poorer districts with more funding. Need-adjusted total spending per student in the poorest quintile of PA’s school districts, $11,723, is dwarfed by the $18,078 need-adjusted spending per student in the richest quintile.

A Quarter Century of Decline: School Funding In Pennsylvania
1993-94 to 2019-2020

Eugene Henninger-Voss | 11/11/2021
After controlling for inflation in education costs, Pennsylvania’s public school districts are funded below the funding level they were 26 years ago. How far school funding has fallen depends on how we measure spending on education and what measures of inflation we use. But no matter how you measure these things, by and large, the state’s funding for schools has decreased.


‘Build Back Better’ Will Cut Taxes For All But the Top 1% of Pennsylvanians

Marc Stier | 11/18/2021
The Build Back Better plan is one of the most progressive changes in the US tax system in our history. And, of course, most of the benefits of the programs funded by these taxes benefit the bottom 80% of families. It is strikingly different from the Trump tax cut of 2017, in which most of the benefits went to the top 1% of Pennsylvanians.

STATEMENT: U.S. House Passage of ‘Build Back Better’ Advances Transformational Investments in U.S. Jobs, Families

Jeff Garis, coordinator of Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s federal advocacy campaign, The 99% Pennsylvania, released this statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Build Back Better bill:
“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed President Biden’s unprecedented and transformative plan to better the lives of all Americans—Black, brown, and white; those with low, moderate, or high incomes; the youngest children and the oldest seniors. All 9 of the Democratic representatives from Pennsylvania voted in favor of the legislation, while all Republican members opposed it. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) commends Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-2), Dwight Evans (PA-3), Madeleine Dean (PA-4), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Susan Wild (PA-7), Matt Cartwright (PA-8), Conor Lamb (PA-17), and Mike Doyle (PA-18) for voting to pass the Build Back Better legislation. The organization urges Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey to support the House-passed bill and vote for passage when it receives a vote in the Senate.

Read more.



MyChesCo | 11/17/21

“The hearing also highlighted the worker misclassification issues experienced by workers in the app-based gig economy and discussed potential policy solutions to address the issue of worker misclassification. One bill discussed was Senate Bill 879 which was introduced by Senator Saval. This bill would hold general contractors responsible for paying any employees up and down a worksite, even if they are hired by a subcontractor.”

Reality Check on WURD | 11/17/21

Listen to the interview with Marc Stier.

Pa. can build a clean electric vehicle future. Wolf, lawmakers must embrace it | Marc Stier

PA Capitol Star | 11/19/21

“The electrification of transportation is a question of when – not if. Pennsylvania now has a chance to help our nation pick up the pace so that we can protect the health of our citizens, improve our energy security, create American jobs and remain competitive on the global stage.”