Often times when debating or discussing politics and policy, facts are tossed aside in favor of more emotional arguments. Even worse, when one side of a legitimate but spirited debate falters, it has somehow become acceptable to either refuse to accept the facts as accurate.
Others strive to find flaws in an effort to have two wrongs make a right. By way of experimentation, here are 10 totally unrelated facts about issues we deal with in Pennsylvania government. Let’s see what happens …
1. According to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education, employees in the state will average seven-10 jobs within several careers and employers in their lifetime. In Pennsylvania, 60 percent of new jobs will require some type of post-secondary education by 2018, while only 43 percent currently hold a post-secondary degree.
2. In July 2011, Illinois privatized its lottery system with a company that promised to bring in between $825 million and $851 million. Unofficial figures show that the Illinois lottery brought in only $726 million for fiscal year 2012 and an arbitrator recently denied more than $230 million in concessions requested by the management company. As a result, the company could owe penalties between $28 million and $36 million for under-performance.
3. It is estimated that deer hunting in Pennsylvania annually generates $1.7 billion in economic activity.
4. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania found that, in 2010-2011, 43 percent of rural school district revenues came from the state government; 46 percent came from local sources, such as taxes; and the remaining 11 percent came from the federal government and other sources. Among urban school districts, 31 percent of revenues came from the state; 59 percent came from local sources; and the remaining 10 percent came from the federal government and other sources.
5. A new Erie Insurance study ranked Pennsylvania as the 29th riskiest state for teen drivers. PA’s teen death rate is 16.1 per 100,000—43 percent higher than the national death rate of 11.3 for adult drivers. May is the deadliest month and Sunday the deadliest day of the week for Pennsylvania teen drivers.
6. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center found that nearly one in five children in the state lives in poverty. The state's child poverty rate increased from 15.9 percent in 2007 to 19.2 percent in 2011, but remains lower than the national child poverty rate of 22.2 percent.
7. According to a recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report, Pennsylvania ranks 4th nationally with more than 933,000 veterans. California tops the list with more than 1.91 million followed by Texas at 1.68 million, and Florida at 1.61 million.
8. If The Pennsylvania Turnpike adopts an all-electronic tolling system, it will join nine other states and several foreign nations, such as Norway, Australia, and France, at some stage of the conversion process.
9. George Washington University found that 52 percent of the nation’s 3.3 million public school teachers have a masters’ degree or better compared to 38 percent of teachers at private schools.
10. A new study released by Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania found that the nonprofit arts industry produces $2.55 billion in annual economic activity in PA while supporting over 81,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $360 million in state and local government revenues.