Tuesday the Eagle Forum held its annual Philadelphia-area dinner at the Aronimink Golf Club. Conservative activist PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY founded the Eagle Forum. The proceeds will go to the 2014 campaigns of the Republican Pennsylvania congressional delegation.
Master of ceremonies was commentator COLIN HANNA. US SEN. PAT TOOMEY was the first speaker. Philadelphia WARD LEADER LT. COL. KEVIN KELLY led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Delaware Co. attorney and Irish American activist THERESA MURTAGH led a rendition of “God Bless America”. Republican candidate for Superior Court VIC STABILE spoke about how important it was that judges not legislate from the bench.A number of the Pennsylvania US Congressmen spoke, including JOE PITTS, MIKE FITZPATRICK, SCOTT PERRY and PAT MEEHAN. Meehan spoke of the current congressional investigations. He is most involved in determining what happened in Benghazi, Libya last year when four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, CHRISTOPHER STEVENS, were killed by terrorists. The Obama Administration and then-SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON claimed the assault was caused by a spontaneous response by locals to a US video blaspheming the PROPHET MOHAMMAD. Subsequent disclosures indicate senior-level personnel at State and the possibly the White House knew early on that it was an act of terrorism. Meehan emphasized we must get to the bottom of this issue, as well as the alleged political use of the IRS in stopping certification of tax-exempt status to conservative groups.
Hanna noted LOIS LERNER, the IRS official who headed the group responsible for these politicized actions, has the best job in D.C.: She is on paid leave. Given civil-service rules, she may be on paid leave for years despite her apparent complicity. In the private sector, an employee that took the Fifth (as did Lerner) would be fired.
Driving home from this event, I heard a radio ad featuring a Philadelphia teacher lambasting MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER for joining GOV. TOM CORBETT in “gutting” Philadelphia schools. Yes, once again the Governor is the bogeyman. We have heard time and time again that he cut spending on k-12 education from what his predecessor GOV. ED RENDELL budgeted. While these statements are not true, it does not matter because few in the media are correcting the inaccuracies.The State’s 2013-2014 budget allocates $9.83 billion in “state funding” to supporting public education. This is $1.25 billion more than Rendell’s last year in office of roughly $8.6 billion. However, the teachers’ unions and others claim the State budgeted roughly $10.0 billion in Rendell’s last year. They either do not know or conveniently forget that package in fiscal 2010-2011 included $1.3 billion in federal stimulus money. STATE SEN. DOMINIC PILEGGI sent letters to every school district in the commonwealth reminding them this increase was a one-time benefit. Did the letter to the Philadelphia School District get lost in the mail? Did School SUPERINTENDENT DR. ARLENE ACKERMAN fail to share the letter with the teachers’ union and others?
We are also told that Harrisburg – namely Corbett – has “gutted” the schools. Gutting suggests that the State’s contribution was cut. This year, the State increased what it sent Philadelphia. Subsequently, when the City estimated a shortfall of $120 million, Harrisburg agreed to give it another $48 million. Initially the Commonwealth thought it had to refund this money to the federal government, but the funds were forgiven. Harrisburg gave all of these funds to Philadelphia. Please note there are roughly 500 school districts in Pennsylvania that would have liked some of that money.
We in Philadelphia seem to forget the School District’s budget for this year is roughly $2.4 billion, up slightly from last year. Also, some of us seem to forget approximately 55% of the district’s funding comes from Harrisburg.