Last Week in Philly: 9/23- 9/29 Edition
By YIP Advocacy Committee
Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while salsa dancing at the Puerto Rican Day parade. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.
Cigarette tax passed: Lawmakers in Harrisburg finally passed the $2-per-pack cigarette tax, after months of delays. It’s unclear whether the amounts raised by this tax will be enough to close the budget gap, and the delayed implementation certainly cost the city money.
City Council approves $30 million loan for the School District. The loans will be paid back using the city’s 1 percent sales tax surcharge, which was extended recently to help cover the huge drops in state funding for schools.
Class sizes: Some schools are facing serious overcrowding problems, with some classes of 35 students being taught by a strings of substitutes. Elsewhere, classes with 50 pupils aren’t uncommon. Some parents are having trouble finding schools with free registration slots. This isn’t an easy read, but that’s what makes it an important one.
Test Scores: Turns out that slashing funding doesn’t increase test scores. Who knew?.
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Race of the Toms: Democratic candidate for Governor Tom Wolf is maintaining his big lead over Republican incumbent Tom Corbett.
He’s here… State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) came out as a supporter of gay hate crime legislation. Also, he came out. “I’m gay. Get over it. I love it. It’s a great life,” said Ferlo, who is set to retire at the end of his current term.
SEPTA has launched a new Strategic Business Plan website for stakeholders and consumers as the transit organization plans for the next five years. New Payment Technologies, i.e., SEPTA’s smart card system, are lists as future goal but no timeframe is provided.
More Plans for Fixing Planning: After the mayor’s commission proposed dividing L&I last week, Council President Darrell Clarke proposed his own plan to restructure agencies covering planning, licenses, and housing. Plan Philly compares them.
Partnerships build bridges over public/private divide by building non-metaphorical bridges. Philadelphia has 9 bridges of the 553 being replaced by public-private partnerships across Pennsylvania. Philly Mag looks at the legacy of government-private sector cooperation through PIDC’s chairman, John Grady.
Uber, the ride-sharing company many prefer to traditional cabs, is facing legal challenges. Two administrative law judges from the PA Public Utility Commission have recommended denying Uber’s application for permanent authority to operate in the state. This summer Uber continued operations in Pittsburgh despite a shutdown order from the PUC. This defiance is being interpreted as a lack of commitment “to operating safely and legally.”
Even former Gov. Tom Ridge thinks there will soon be a severance tax on natural gas extraction in PA. I bet some drilling companies read that and said “What the frack!”
Paychecks are kinda important: Turns out, Millennials move to places that have good job prospects. Crazy, right? Looking forward to the inevitable old crank article that lambastes millennials for caring too much about money and material things. But elected officials take note: want neighborhood stabilizing young taxpayers? Attract employers.
Speaking of new jobs for young people, turns out young companies are responsible for most job creation. At least, that’s what this Kauffman Foundation survey shows.
Philly’s ongoing millennial boom has been great for most, but one industry is getting left behind: wedding planners. Millennials are less likely to marry than prior generations, according to new Pew research.
Pols are trying to find some millennials who are DTV – down to vote – using Tindr. Personally, I want to file this under “Politicians will try anything to get a vote,” but we didn’t make that a category, hence it’s here, with the millennial news.
Last Week in Philly is brought to you by the YIP Advocacy Committee, generally, and Curtis Blessing, Nathanael Brouhard, Frank Iannuzzi, Jim Saksa and Stephen St. Vincent, specifically. If you want to break up this boys club (please do) or make it that much more dude-tastc, email Ben Stango to join the Advocacy Committee at BenStango at gmail.