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Raymond P. Parker & Todd T. Jordan, 529 Plans No Longer Subject to Pa. Inheritance Tax in Allegheny County, 26 Lawyers J. 11 (2024), Raymond Parker and Todd Jordan write that Allegheny County Orphans’ Court Judge Lawrence O’Toole recently held that the Pennsylvania statute exempting only Pennsylvania 529 plans from inheritance tax is unconstitutional because it violates the Uniformity Clause of the state Constitution. Parker and Jordan write that the decision follows the same reasoning that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court employed when it held that the state of incorporation could not be used for disparate tax treatment. As of now, only those who resided in Allegheny County prior to their death are able to exempt out-of-state 529 plans; however, the exclusion could spread statewide, county by county as cases are filed, or if the Legislature exempts all 529 plans.

Hon. Leonard G. Brown III, County Politicians and State Courts – Continual Friction and “Dissention,” 95 Pa. B.A. Q. 33 (2024), the Honorable Leonard G. Brown III writes that the division of funding responsibilities in the state Constitution has led to disagreements between the courts of common pleas and county officials regarding the staffing of county courts. Article V provides that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court exercises supervisory and administrative authority over all the courts to appoint administrators and staff necessary to the business of the court, but does not provide for how the salaries of such staff should be funded. Because the current system requires the courts of common pleas to go through county officials in order to fix the compensation of their staff, Judge Brown advocates a workable, systemic resolution to avoid repeated funding disputes between county officials and courts of common pleas.

Claudia De Palma and Dan Uverick-Ackelsberg, The Arc from Non-Justiciable to Fundamental: The School Funding Challenges in Pennsylvania, 33 Widener Commw. L. Rev. 75 (2024), Claudia De Palma and Dan Uverick-Ackelsberg discuss the history of Pennsylvania’s Education Clause, which originated in the 1872 Constitutional Convention. They write that although most modern litigation regarding the Education Clause concerns the adequacy of the state’s funding system, early cases involving the clause focused on an array of issues, from school district tax liability to a school’s role in guarding public health. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not hold that the Education Clause was judicially enforceable until 2017, almost 150 years after it was ratified in 1874.