Read the full news release about Rep. Mike Regan running for state Senate

State Rep. Mike Regan, R-Carroll Township, plans to run for state Senate. You can read the full news release of his announcement below.

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Pennsylvania now ranks 46th for the state share of K-12 education funding

Earlier this year, we wrote about how Pennsylvania compares to other states when it comes to state funding for education.

We found that for the fiscal year ending in 2012, Pennsylvania ranked 44th, slightly ahead of Florida, when it comes to the share of funding for elementary and secondary public school systems.

That measurement compares percentages, not total dollars spent or averages spent per student.

The U.S. Census Bureau has since released updated info for the fiscal year ending in 2013. Here is how that changes Pennsylvania’s status.

1. Pennsylvania’s rank dropped to 46 for the state share of education funding.

Pennsylvania ranked ahead of New Hampshire, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.

2. But Pennsylvania’s percentage of funding stayed pretty much the same.

For the fiscal year ending in 2012, Pennsylvania provided 36.14. Local sources provided 55.8 percent of the funding, while federal sources provided about 8.1 percent.

 

For the fiscal year ending in 2013, Pennsylvania provided 36.13 percent. Local sources provided about 56.3 percent, while federal sources provided about 7.6 percent.

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Gov. Tom Wolf’s favorability ratings

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Tracking Gov. Tom Wolf’s job approval ratings

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What people are saying about Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto

On Tuesday evening, Gov. Tom Wolf said he would veto the entire budget bill, which the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Here’s what people are saying about the decision (comments below came from statements):

House Democrats praised the move.

“Republicans wasted a lot of time in the last few days working on a dead-end budget that wasn’t balanced and would have ultimately created a $3 billion deficit,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “Now that the governor vetoed the budget, it’s time for all of us to get back to work on a real budget plan that constructively helps the people of Pennsylvania.”

“The governor has been more than willing to meet and work with Republicans and Democrats since he took office in January,” said House Democratic Whip Mike Hanna. “His door has been open and he made it clear that he’s ready to continue discussions. Democrats will be there with him.”

The state GOP criticized it.

“Republicans in the state Senate and state House have taken clear actions that will improve the lives of families across Pennsylvania by passing a  ‘Taxpayers Budget,’’ Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason said.  “Tonight, Governor Tom Wolf chose to veto that ‘Taxpayers Budget’ and side with liberal special interest benefactors over Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

And here is what some people said on Twitter:

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U.S. Rep. Scott Perry said he’s concerned about National Park Service’s Confederate flag decision

I asked U.S. Rep. Scott Perry’s office about the National Park Service’s request that vendors that run its stores voluntarily remove Confederate flag-related merchandise, specifically stand-alone Confederate flags.

Perry, R-York County, represents Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Gettysburg.

Here is Perry’s statement:

“I have strong concerns and many questions about the National Park Service (NPS) decision regarding the display of the Confederate Flag at Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP).  The Battle of Gettysburg marks a turning point in American history, and this park is a living museum of that history. One of GNMP’s most important duties is to educate our citizens about the significance of the Gettysburg Campaign, the Civil War and the bravery of all Soldiers who fought there – on both sides. At first glance, this seems like a rushed decision by NPS officials in Washington based on public and media pressure rather than a thoughtful evaluation of the Confederate Flag’s educational and historic value to park visitors. Local business owners and officials in Gettysburg are justified in wondering what other uses of the Confederate flag, such as battle re-enactments, will be called into question next. I’m in the process of setting up a discussion early next week with GNMP officials so we can gather all the facts before I comment further.”

 

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Wagner’s Chopper parody account ‘funny,’ but serious discussion needed, said Sen. Wagner’s office

What seemed like it might have been a short-lived parody of one state senator’s unique way of making a point in local media continues to grow in followers and topics.

Sen. Scott Wagner

Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township (File photo)

Tweeting live from the “Commonwealth’s Skies,” Twitter account Wagner’s Chopper seeks to provide “Guidance from above. Solving Pennsylvania’s budget problems… from 2,500 feet,” according to the bio.

As of about 5 p.m. today, the account had 173 followers and had tweeted 78 times.

The account was created in the wake of a May 27 ABC27 — WHTM-TV — report called “Senator: Pa. schools not underfunded” in which state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, chartered a helicopter and brought station reporter Dennis Owens with him on a bird’s eye view tour of some south central Pennsylvania high schools.

Soon thereafter, letter writers and interest groups were calling the move a “stunt,” and a “most out-of-touch way” to prove a point about school funding. Continue reading “Wagner’s Chopper parody account ‘funny,’ but serious discussion needed, said Sen. Wagner’s office” »

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Mailers target Republicans opposed to Wolf’s extraction tax

In April, we wrote about mailers targeting the districts of 15 lawmakers, including Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County. Those mailers criticized Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal.

Andrew Staub at PA Independent has a story about mailers targeting lawmakers for opposing Wolf’s proposed extraction tax on natural gas drilling.

Glossy mailers began landing in mailboxes over the weekend. They included an accusation that GOP representatives were “putting oil & gas companies over kids” when they voted against legislation that includes a severance tax on the natural gas industry to help fund education.

It was a quick turnaround for such an expansive and coordinated mail blitz, considering the vote happened just five days earlier. Districts targeted includes those of state Reps. Daryl Metcalfe, Warren Kampf,Dan Truitt, Bernie O’Neill, Kate Harper and Bill Adolph, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

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How state senators voted on Senate Bill 1

On May 13, the state Senate voted 28-19 to pass Senate Bill 1, which would make big changes to Pennsylvania’s public pensions systems. All of the Democrats in the Senate and one Republican voted against it.

Here is how lawmakers voted, broken down by the districts they represent.

Dark red = Republican yes vote.

Light red = Republican no vote.

Light blue = Democratic no vote.

Gray = Lawmaker didn’t vote or seat was vacant.

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Did your state representative vote for the House property tax plan?

Here’s a map showing which state representatives voted for the House plan to cut school property taxes by raising state sales and personal income tax rates. The map below represents the final vote on May 13.

Dark red = Republican yes vote
Dark blue = Democratic yes vote
Light red = Republican no vote
Light blue = Democratic no vote
Gray = Lawmaker didn’t vote on final bill or the seat was vacant

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