Morning Call: Pennsylvania’s Taxing Politics of Early Childhood Education
June 7, 2018 by Steve Esack

Pennsylvania’s budget season is in full swing as the fiscal year winds down and the next one begins July 1. That means the Capitol is swarming with professional and grassroots lobbyists looking to cut, protect or enhance funding levels in a variety of programs.

On Thursday, supporters seeking an extra $40 million for preschool education had the mic for a news conference in the Rotunda. That’s the same funding increase sought by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf for the 201819 budget now under negotiation with the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Advocates who run Pre-K for PA campaign released a poll they paid to conduct showing three quarters of likely voters support more money for “high-quality, publicly-funded” preschool. That is a 12 percentage point increase (63 percent to 75 percent) since the poll was last conducted in 2013.

The higher support was across the board, regardless of political persuasion or gender, according to the poll conducted by Harper Polling of Harrisburg.