Gov. Wolf’s Priorities Sound More Like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day Than a Positive Path Forward for PA

Feb 2, 2021 | 2 comments

The well-being of children should be a top priority; including better educational options, not harmful marijuana expansion.

(HARRISBURG, PA) The experience of the COVID pandemic shows why truly empowering parents to meet their child’s educational needs should be added to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2021 legislative priorities, replacing his troubling call for the commercial sale of marijuana for recreational use.

“Too many of Pennsylvania’s children have been left behind during the pandemic, and they’ve been suffering greatly,” said Michael Geer, President of the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “Among the lessons of the pandemic is that, for the sake of the children, we need to give parents better schooling options,” added Geer.

“Gov. Wolf talks about getting Pennsylvania back on track after the pandemic, but that must include providing children and their parents financial assistance towards the educational option that fulfills their current needs,” said Geer.

Legislative solutions should include creating Education Scholarship Accounts that would directly help parents meet their child’s unique educational needs. Pennsylvania should also expand the successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC)  program, which helps thousands of parents every year make their child’s educational option possible.

“Work hours have been cut for many families and some lost their jobs. When I called the parents of the students who received [an EITC scholarship], the parents cried for joy,” said one Philadelphia private school principal. Without such a scholarship, those students likely would not be in their school at all.

Regarding the problematic priority of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, many public health organizations oppose such a policy move, such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Governor Wolf claims to ‘follow the science’ with his public health decisions on COVID, yet if we do the same on marijuana we find a large body of mainstream science clearly cautioning or opposing any push for full legalization,” comments Dan Bartkowiak, Director of Communications for Pennsylvania Family Institute.  

The experience of other states where “recreational” marijuana is now legal demonstrates that not only are there negative health consequences, but also that the promised tax revenue doesn’t meet projections, with amounts that are a small fraction of Pennsylvania’s projected $2.5 billion budget deficit. In other words, using pot to close our budget hole is a pipe dream.

“It’s troubling that PA officials are still relying upon a pre-COVID report made by former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale for their revenue projections, a report that calls for a huge 35 percent sales tax that would be welcomed by the black market and fails to take into account the many serious health consequences,” adds Bartkowiak. 

We’re living in Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day with Gov. Wolf’s repeated calls for the same harmful marijuana legalization. Let’s prioritize the people of Pennsylvania, not the marijuana obsession of Lt. Gov. Fetterman,” said Bartkowiak.