LAGGING REIMBURSEMENTS NIP STATE'S SCHOOL INVESTMENTS
Over 70 percent of those surveyed said in a recent poll that the state's investment in public schools should be larger. But because of a state moratorium on reimbursements, any extra funds could be shuffled to something other than education. A survey commissioned by school groups, shows Pennsylvanians making strong connections between public education, economic development and state funding. 70 percent of voters surveyed want more state money distributed fairly, through a funding formula. But a moratorium on reimbursements for school construction has created gaping holes of debt in budgets that may see new money first. The Governor wants to extend the moratorium into next year.
PA ADDS NEARLY 2800 ACRES TO FARMLAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM
Nearly 28-hundred additional acres of farmland will be preserved statewide thanks to a state program. Since the state's farmland preservation program began in 1988, more than one-point-two billion dollars has been invested to preserve nearly a half-million acres on farms in 57 counties for future agriculture production. The latest round includes land on 28 farms in 13 counties. The goal is to slow the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses by purchasing development rights from farmers.
SHALE INDUSTRY PUSHES BACK AS CALLS RISE FOR A SEVERANCE TAX
With a small chorus calling for a severance tax growing bigger, the natural gas industry is raising concerns about the impact on the state's economy. All four Democratic candidates for Governor favor some form of severance tax and a bipartisan group of state senators and representatives recently called for taxing shale to fund education. The head of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania says irresponsible proposals could destroy job growth and stifle capital investment in the natural gas industry in PA.