This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Taxes and the Economy


Radio Program Schedule for the week of May 21, 2016- May 27, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation and Neal Lesher from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA are joined by Nicole Kaeding from the Tax Foundation for a Capitol Watchlook at Pennsylvania’s complicated array of taxes
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the anti-education governor

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Veronique DeRugy from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about proposed new overtime pay regulations
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind congress picking winners and losers when outfitting the U.S. Military
  • Eric Boehm and Johnny Kampis have a Watchdog Radio Report on Google’s frequent visits to the White House
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on property taxes

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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The Worm in the Education Apple


There is an old saying in politics that “perception is reality.”  That is how former Governor Tom Corbett got blamed for cuts in funding to public education that never happened.  To this day many Pennsylvanians believe he took an axe to education funding when in fact he left office with more state dollars being spent on K-12 education than at any point in the commonwealth’s history.

To drive the point home, Governor Tom Wolf campaigned promising to be the education governor.  He has done more to damage public education than any governor in recent history. This reality has been cloaked in the perception that he is pro-education.  In fact Wolf is really just pro-union, propping up a system that fails both students and taxpayers.

It is true he has proposed historic increases in education spending – and the higher taxes to fund that spending.  But, the proposed increases in both taxing and spending are so large they have proven politically impossible to implement. The untenable nature of these increases are such that even in the hyper-partisan atmosphere of the state capitol some Democrats have refused to go along.

The chances of Governor Wolf getting Republican support for more reasonable increases in k-12 public education spending are high if, as demanded by GOP leadership, reforms to cost drivers are included.  But the governor has adopted a “my way or the highway” attitude which gridlocked the process and produced a historic budget stand-off.

In the process of fighting that battle, the so-called education governor pushed school districts across Penn’s Woods to the cusp of closing due to the lack of state dollars flowing into their coffers.  Worse, many had to borrow money to keep their doors open, incurring costs that took dollars away from students.  His administration, willing to spend money to keep state bureaucracy operating, turned down appeals from school districts for relief.

Even if Governor Wolf were to push his education spending increases through the legislature precious few dollars would ever be spent benefitting students.  That is because the state’s pension system has become fiscally unsound. Its investments are under-performing projections and too generous benefits are draining the system faster than current employees add new dollars.  At the school district level, property taxes are rising to cover costs and the preponderance of any new state dollars directed to education must go to prop up the system as well.

June a year ago the legislature passed significant pension reform.  It was immediately vetoed by the governor who parroted the union line that the system is fine, just underfunded.  Thus an opportunity to at least partially address a major cost driver was missed.  The end result: fewer dollars available to directly benefit students.

Governor Wolf has also been waging a war on charter schools.  Even more so than traditional public schools, charters operate with minimal cash flow.  The epic budget battle resulted in teacher lay-offs, and even the closing of some charter schools.  More will likely close as the governor implements administrative policies aimed at forcing charter schools out of existence.  These policies are designed to deny parents and students valuable educational choices in an effort to preserve the union-dominated monopoly of public schools.

The latest example of Governor Wolf placing union interests over student interests involves legislation that would replace the seniority-based system for determining teacher lay-offs with a merit based system.  In other words, instead of “last in, first out” the best teachers would be retained.  At present, the legislation is on Governor Wolf’s desk – and he has vowed a veto.

Unless you are doing Common Core math, when you add all these factors together what you get is a governor whose every action has harmed students and made the state’s system of public education even more fiscally fragile than it was when he took office.  All of this is being done to prop up the very labor unions that financed the governor’s election.  For taxpayers, and for students, it is a very large worm in the education apple.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

 

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: PA Pays Big $$ for Energy Mandates


Radio Program Schedule for the week of May 14, 2016-May 20, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with Dr. Ryan Yonk from Utah State University on the impact to PA families of renewable energy mandates
  •  Lowman Henry talks with Patrick McLaughlin from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about the long term cost of federal regulations
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the state budget and corporate welfare.

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Steve Moore of Freedom Works about the economic impact of the Obama Administration’s war on coal
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on issues dividing Donald Trump and Paul Ryan
  •  Eric Boehm is joined by Jason Hart for a Watchdog Radio Report on Puerto Rico’s loan default
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on progressive fascination with communist public policies

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Structural Budget Deficit


Radio Program Schedule for the week of May 7, 2016 – May 13, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • David Taylor of the PA Manufacturers Association, Matthew Brouillette from the Commonwealth Foundation and Kevin Shivers from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA have a Capitol Watch roundtable discussion on Pennsylvania’s so-called “structural budget deficit”
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the impact of the budget battle on legislative elections.

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Patrick McLaughlin of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about the cumulative cost of government regulation
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the club’s latest congressional scorecard
  • Eric Bohem and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio Report on the Social Security system’s backlog of disability cases
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on giving up making predictions in the presidential race. 

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Budget Battle Ends With Electoral Dud


The final pieces of legislation ending Pennsylvania’s longest budget stalemate fell into place just days before the April primary election. And the story that dominated state news for over nine months had no apparent impact on voters who meted out no electoral punishment for the fiscal fray that had school districts on the cusp of closing, nonprofits cutting services, and politicians at each other’s throats.

This budget stand-off was different from those that took place during the Rendell era notably due to the lack of public pressure placed on Governor Wolf and the legislature.  There were no daily protests on the capitol steps. State employees did not go without pay.  When the battle commenced last summer Governor Wolf’s first salvo was an attack ad campaign. It fell flat. Outside the halls of state government and the few remaining news media that cover it, the budget battle went largely unnoticed.

Despite Governor Wolf’s threats of electoral retribution, lawmakers did not pay a political price for engaging in the budget battle.  The first clue that the fiscal free-for-all was not impacting the electorate came in February when there was no wave of candidates filing to oppose incumbent legislators.  Looking at the primary election results it would be difficult if not impossible to point to a single lawmaker who lost his or her seat because of the sustained budget stand-off.

In fact few lawmakers lost for any reason.  And those that did lose were a result of local political divisions rather than anything that happened in Harrisburg.  In Philadelphia, for example, Democrats engaged in their biannual exercise of primary fratricide.  The state’s longest serving House member – State Representative Mark Cohen – was defeated by a challenger who claimed he had been in office too long and was out of touch with his constituents.

Another rare defeat of a House incumbent took place in Lackawanna County where State Representative Frank Farina lost to former legislator Kevin Haggerty.  The two former colleagues found their districts merged in redistricting a couple of years ago and have been battling over the seat ever since.

While voters were busy returning incumbents to office some lawmakers even got a promotion.  State Representative Mike Regan ran for and won the Republican nomination to replace outgoing state Senator Pat Vance in Cumberland County.  In what was a hard fought and nasty campaign the budget crisis did not register as a key issue.

For Republicans looking to hold onto historic majorities in both the Senate and the House the future looks bright.  Senate Republicans could actually achieve a veto proof majority as the fall battles will be fought over swing seats currently occupied by Democrats.  On the House side, the primary yielded solid GOP nominees for open seats like Dawn Keefer in Cumberland County and Frank Ryan in Lebanon County.  Conversely, Democratic retirements in western Pennsylvania provide the opportunity for additional Republican pick-ups in an area already trending toward the GOP.

Further evidence of the impotence of the state budget battle on the electoral process can be found in the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.  Governor Wolf’s first chief of staff, Katie McGinty, was one of the prime architects of the budget proposal that triggered the lengthy stand-off.  She resigned last summer to run for the U.S. Senate and prevailed against three opponents in the primary.

Why did the epic budget battle fall so flat with voters?  Chalk it up to a lack of attention being focused on state government.  Or the fact the absence of a state budget had little impact on the daily lives of Pennsylvanians.  Timing was also a factor.  With the nation transfixed by the presidential race scant coverage has been afforded other matters.

And so we find ourselves back to where we began.  Another budget season is underway in Harrisburg.  Governor Wolf is pushing for more spending and higher taxes, Republicans are adamant in their refusal.  The fight will continue, apparently without consequence for anyone involved.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Chris Nicholas has Election Analysis


Radio Program Schedule for the week of April 30, 2016 – May 6, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.com
  • Lowman Henry gets election results and analysis from veteran political consultant Chris Nicholas
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on the fiscal health of the state’s gaming industry
  • Beth Anne Mumford from Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on past Earth Day climate predictions that never came true

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund about a court victory in the fight to protect the privacy rights of donors
  • Andy Roth has the Real Story on the importance of tariff reform
  • Eric Boehm is joined by Clark Neily of the Institute for Justice with the latest example of asset forfeiture abuse
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the coddling of college students.

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Feds Bailout Obamacare Insurance Companies


Radio Program Schedule for the week of April 23, 2016 – April 29, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • David Taylor of the PA Manufacturers Association hosts a Capitol Watch discussion of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland’s judicial record with Kevin Shivers from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA and Luke Wade from the D.C. office of the National Federation of Independent Business
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the broken congressional budgeting process

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Andy Roth of the Club Lowman Henry talks with Nathan Nascimento of Freedom Partners about the federal government bailing out insurance companies that are losing money under Obamacare for Growth has the Real Story on where Donald Trump stands on pro-growth issues
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on a possible competitive U.S. Senate primary in Kansas
  • Eric Boehm and Bruce Parker have a Watchdog Radio Report on states boycotting other states
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on an easy way for government to avoid unexpected catastrophic costs

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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