Press Release: PBPC sends memo to PA House regarding concerns about Senate-passed Fiscal and School Code bills

Marc Stier,

PBPC memo decries last minute, closed door deals

Fiscal Code and schools Code bills contain fiscally irresponsible provisions that serve special interests, not common good

December 14, 2015 (Harrisburg, Pa.) – In a memo to members of the state House of Representatives, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Director Marc Stier urged the General Assembly to "live up to fundamental democratic norms and strip provisions added to the Fiscal and School Codes at the last minute and behind closed doors."

Provision in the Fiscal Code would give the General Assembly power to delay the development of a Pennsylvania climate plan to reduce power plant emissions, prohibit the Environmental Quality Board from adopting new, and much needed, oil and gas drilling regulations, give the natural gas drillers, who should be paying a severance tax, a $12 million hand out from taxpayers.

Provisions in the Schools Code require the State Department of Education to transfer five underperforming schools in Philadelphia to the Department of Education. The Department would be required to convert or authorize a new charter in two of the schools. And it would require the Department to operate two others. These provisions are neither necessary given state control over the Philadelphia schools nor likely to lead to better schools. And they will add to the fiscal burden on already underfunded schools in Philadelphia.

The letter concludes, "We've seen this kind of last-minute, closed-door, public policy making too often in Pennsylvania. And far too often it leads, as in these two cases, to fiscally irresponsible public policies that serve special interests rather than the common good."

Read the memo