July 5, 2023
July has arrived and Pennsylvania does not have a budget, which is due on June 30 of every year. The PA budget stalemate is a result of House Democrats stubbornly opposing a scholarship/school choice program for poor kids in failing schools.
The Lifeline scholarship program would appropriate $100 million to help students whose families have incomes of $75,000 or less escape the bottom 15 percent of the worst performing public schools in the state. None of these schools are in my legislative district, but they exist in both rural and urban settings across the Commonwealth.
The Republican-led Senate and Governor Josh Shapiro, in a rare bipartisan meeting of the minds, agree that these scholarships are a good idea. A bill came to the House from the Senate that included these scholarships.
Unfortunately, House Democrats stonewalled the idea during a Rules Committee vote, and the budget process came to a standstill. Click here to see that vote.
Democrat Senator Anthony Williams, a scholarship supporter from Philly, sums up their position in this video. You can watch his full speech from the Senate floor here. It's worth a few minutes of your time.
Democrat Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton has over 3,500 students in her Philly district who could have gotten a hand up to pull them out of failing schools. She voted NO.
Democrat Leader Matt Bradford has nearly 500 kids in his Montgomery County district trapped in a failing school who could benefit from these scholarships. He voted NO.
Democrat Appropriations Chair Jordan Harris has over 1,400 students in his Philly district who would be left behind in failing schools. He voted NO.
Democrat Caucus Chair Mike Schlossberg has nearly 6,000 students in his Lehigh County district he could save from failing schools by supporting these scholarships. He voted NO.
Two other Democrat members of the Rules Committee from Philly have over 6,400 combined students who could benefit, while yet another member from Erie represents nearly 6,000 such students. They all voted NO to rescuing these kids from failing schools.
The House Democrats are all in bed with the education/industrial complex (read: teacher unions) and are dead set against those like Senator Williams and Governor Shapiro who realize propping up a failed public education system is dooming kids and crushing our Commonwealth.
The choice is clear: You either support kids, or you support big campaign contributors. House Democrats have picked their side and are holding the PA budget hostage over it.
These are the same people who voted in lockstep with Tom Wolf to keep you locked down during Covid, and the same people who covered up a sexual predator in their midst just long enough to gain a slim 102-101 majority in Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania deserves better than this. I'm ready to fight back in 2024. I've set a goal of raising $50,000 to help Republicans take back the majority, and I would greatly appreciate your help. Will you stand with me?