It’s not the probability the Republicans could score an upset. After all, they are outregistered eight to one, a registration edge literally guaranteeing wins for Democratic candidates in citywide elections.
But this party is different from the one that understood the futility of winning citywide offices and settled for judgeships when it could. It’s been born of a civil war which raged two years, pitting young, unhappy warriors looking for action, and a leadership stuck in the reality of being an underdog with little help coming its way.
That civil war ended recently with a new GOP Chairman, State Rep. John Taylor (R-Kensington), who reluctantly accepted the unanimous vote propelling him into that seat. His first move was to appoint one of the fiery young warriors, attorney Joseph DeFelice, to handle the nuts-and-bolts requirements of moving the party forward as executive director.
The party no longer was one where ward leaders did not interact much. Now they are gathering at socials and meetings, have gotten to know each other and have learned how to tackle the same major problem they all share … the difficulty of getting registrations.
GOP challengers Danny Alvarez for District Attorney and Terry Tracy for City Controller do have a united party going to bat for them at the polls in greater numbers than their predecessors in the past. In the past two years, the GOP have signed up hundreds of minority inspectors, guaranteeing them an inside member of the election board, a post they often gave away in the past without contest.
Both challengers have appeared in countless places, hoping to convince Democrats it is time for a change. They exude confidence.
But what they now have going for them is a voice which has long been silent.
The elephant now roars. When John Taylor speaks, he speaks for all Republicans and this past week Taylor blasted the Philadelphia Daily News for obviously false and misleading claims.
“Having been in the Pennsylvania legislature for the past three decades, I have sufficient institutional and historic knowledge to question a recent Daily News editorial based on the false and misleading claim of a school-funding consultant that ‘the School District of Philadelphia would receive $360 million more a year’ if a 2008 Rendell administration school-funding plan had been ‘kept in place,’” Taylor wrote.
“For the record – no such plan was ever enacted during the Rendell years, nor was any such plan ever ‘put in place.’ Under the formula enacted during the Rendell Administration and which Gov. Corbett is implementing, Philadelphia schools received $983,928,923 in Basic Education Funds for 2013-14. This is the largest yearly funding allocation from the state that the district has ever received under the BEF formula.
“The School District of Philadelphia received $1,072,038,281 during the last year of the Rendell Administration in 2010-11. $878,191,207 was in state basic education funds and $193,847,074 came from federal stimulus dollars.
“Absent the federal stimulus dollars, the basic state education funding under the Rendell Administration was almost $100 million less than the current basic education dollars that the school district is currently receiving under Corbett.
“Including the basic education dollars, the School District of Philadelphia is receiving an additional $32 million in this year’s budget, plus $45 million more in funds recently released by Corbett, and a possible $50 million resulting from recently enacted sales-tax enabling legislation on which City Council has yet to act.
“Please keep in mind that the Philadelphia School District receives $4,889 per student from the state under the 2013-14 BEF formula. This is significantly higher than the $3,199 state average.
“The School District of Philadelphia also receives 50% of its revenue from the state, compared to the 36% average for all other districts. Philadelphia also receives 14% of its revenue from the federal government, compared to other districts, which on average receive only 4% of their revenue from the federal government.
“As we move forward and seek solutions that will help improve the quality of our children’s education, no one benefits – least of all the children – when false and misleading information presented by a consultant is used as the basis for an editorial.”