The Wolf administration claims important state spending has been “cut to the bone” and says only tax hikes will prevent more cuts to education and human services. But can a government topping the nation in corporate welfare at $700 million truly be funding the bare minimum?
Last year, we lost one person to another state every 12.5 minutes—a net migration of 41,600 residents, gone. That’s nearly the entire population of York, Gov. Wolf’s hometown. Ironically, Wolf used his second budget address to double down on the policies that are driving people away.
Family ties can bind us together across any cultural or class boundary. Maintaining and promoting them should be our first priority. But while politicians routinely give lip service to helping families like yours and mine prosper, I’ve found that their solutions often do more harm than good.
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The commonwealth, on net, loses one person every 12.5 minutes. Some say it's all about the weather, but a recent Gallup poll found another reason. Across the country, residents in high-tax states are more likely to want to leave than those in lower-tax states.
Decades of high taxes, growing red tape and rising debt are driving Pennsylvanians away. Can you relate? Have you left the keystone state for brighter opportunities? Share your story below and help us show Harrisburg that higher taxes are the wrong way to go.
In the Wall Street Journal, Florida Governor Rick Scott makes a mockery of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his quest to raise taxes, calling Wolf one of his "favorite governors."
"Every time they raise taxes,” Mr. Scott says, “it’s basically a gift to Florida."
Florida’s population increased by 350,000 last year, and IRS data confirm that many were exiles from high-tax California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
As we've pointed out recently here, Pennsylvania has long been losing residents to other states—more than 40,000 lost in net state to state migration last year alone, or one resident every 12.5 minutes.
Pennsylvania and other high tax states are losing to states with lower overall tax burdens.
Not to worry though. Gov. Wolf has a solution! He's going to change the slogan for tourism!
Of course we all know slogans are the key to economic growth and job creation. Take this quick poll and tell us what you think Pennsylvania's new Tourism Slogan should be.
Eunice Medina is a childcare worker living in Oakland, California. Last March, the city instituted a $12.55 minimum wage, leaving Eunice with fewer workdays and reduced hours.
Across the country in East Aurora, New York, restaurant owner John Rooney just closed one of his two locations after 14 years in business:
I've got employees that have been working for me for 14 years, that we had to say goodbye to, for no other reason," Rooney said, "than that increase in the minimum wage.
Eunice and John are cautionary tales for Pennsylvania where Governor Wolf just issued an executive order to raise the minimum wage for 450 state workers and future state contractors.
Increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.15 an hour for about 0.57% of state workers sounds compassionate, but experiences in Oakland, New York and many other places show higher wage mandates lead to fewer job opportunities.
Of course, the Commonwealth isn't like a regular employer. Instead of layoffs, politicians will simply pass on the $4 million cost of this mandate to taxpayers.
Interestingly, after lauding his executive order, Gov. Wolf seemed to acknowledge that wage mandates are a burden. When asked if the wage increase will affect human service workers, the governor explained they didn't want to place further burdens or pressure on human service workers absent a budget.
The Independent Fiscal Office confirmed the governor's concerns in a report it relased on the costs of raising the minimum wage, concluding it would keep or put 31,000 Pennsylvanians out of work. Some may argue this is a necessary tradeoff to reduce poverty, but research from the Employment Policies Institute found no statistically significant evidence that a higher minimum wage reduces participation in means-tested welfare programs.
If Gov. Wolf and other policymakers are truly concerned about lifting people out of poverty, they should pursue the following refroms:
Lower the cost of doing business: It is possible to raise wages and increase hiring at the same time. According to a Mercatus Center study, a one-percentage point drop in the corporate tax rate would likely increase annual economic growth by 0.1 to 0.2%.
Reward hard work: Restructure welfare programs to avoid the arbitrary benefit cutoffs discouraging employment and trapping families in poverty.
Lower barriers to employment: Scale back professional licensing to give low-wage earners the opportunity to increase their incomes through entrepreneurship.