Economy




Recent Issues

Family Ties or Government Bonds?

JUNE 29, 2015 | Commentary by BRITTNEY PARKER

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.

Study: 30,000 Jobs That Won't Pay Under Wolf's Budget

MAY 4, 2015 | News Release by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

In April, Gov. Wolf crisscrossed the state on a “Jobs that Pay” tour saying his record-setting tax-and-spend budget proposal will boost economic growth. Today, a new, nonpartisan study says even more harm could be done to middle class families: 30,000 jobs will not be created next year if Wolf’s plan is passed.

The Impact of Gov. Wolf's Tax Proposals on Job Creation

MAY 1, 2015 | Policy Memo by JAMES PAUL, NATHAN BENEFIELD

The Commonwealth Foundation worked with the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University to apply an economic modeling program to analyze the overall impact of Gov. Wolf’s proposals. Economists at Beacon Hill developed the Pennsylvania State Tax Analysis Modeling Program (PA STAMP) to calculate the impact of Gov. Wolf’s tax proposals on job creation. As a result of Wolf’s tax increases, 29,408 jobs will not be created in 2015-16.





Recent Blog Posts

Losers Outnumber Winners Under King v Burwell Decision

JUNE 26, 2015

Yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision to uphold taxpayer subsidies on healthcare.gov brought a collective sigh of relief to Pennsylvanians, like Barbara, who depend on subsidies to make health insurance somewhat affordable. But lost in much of the news coverage are the losers, like Mark, who still can't afford his premiums. In fact, there are ten times as many losers as winners thanks to the court's decision.

Had the court ruled federal subsidies illegal, more than 460,000 Pennsylvanians would have been freed of the individual mandate tax due to an affordability exemption. Likewise, employers would have been freed of the employer mandate. The American Action Forum estimated the exemptions would have added 62,693 to the workforce by 2017.

Broadly speaking, no one wins under the Obamacare status quo. Instead of health insurance premiums going down, as promised, they’ve increased. Even Pennsylvanians with highly subsidized exchange plans are bracing for large rate hikes. Some exchange insurers are asking for premium increases of more than 50 percent next year. Add in the burden of high deductibles, and one has to question exactly how the Affordable Care Act is making health care more affordable.

Even people receiving subsidies want to see major changes to the law.

It’s now up to Congress to deliver the type of consumer-centered reforms that will give Pennsylvanians more choices, lower rates and better access to quality care.

posted by ELIZABETH STELLE | 09:39 AM | Comments

30,000 Jobs at Risk

JUNE 23, 2015

Middle class job opportunities are at risk.

We all know that strong middle class employment is at the heart of a healthy economy, but Gov. Wolf’s massive tax increases would dramatically suppress future job creation.

The Commonwealth Foundation analyzed the overall impact of Gov. Wolf’s proposals—and the results aren’t pretty.

Approximately 30,000 jobs would not be created in 2015-16 under Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal, according to an economic modeling program from the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University. To put that figure in perspective, consider that the Bureau for Labor Statistics estimates Pennsylvania added roughly 50,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

Total Employment

Fiscal Year

Without Wolf Taxes

With Wolf Taxes

Jobs Not Created

2015-16

5,764,652

5,735,243

29,408

2016-17

5,815,360

5,777,047

38,313

2017-18

5,866,631

5,829,821

36,810

2018-19

5,918,471

5,882,391

36,080

2019-20

5,970,885

5,935,404

35,481

If one excludes government employment—which would slightly tick up as a result of Gov. Wolf’s government spending increases—more than 39,000 private sector jobs would not be created in 2015-16.

Private Sector Employment

Fiscal Year

Without Wolf Taxes

With Wolf Taxes

Jobs Not Created

2015-16

5,063,968

5,024,759

39,209

2016-17

5,116,985

5,076,586

40,399

2017-18

5,170,557

5,132,299

38,258

2018-19

5,224,691

5,186,636

38,055

2019-20

5,279,391

5,241,433

37,957

This is bad news for thousands of Pennsylvanians looking for work. Families can’t afford to be squeezed between higher taxes and fewer job opportunities.

posted by ELIZABETH STELLE | 03:45 PM | Comments

The Next 1,360 Days

APRIL 30, 2015

Governor Wolf marked his 100th day in office by providing a list of accomplishments. In reality, the memo is more of a status update since many of his initiatives, including the natural gas tax and his budget proposal, are a long way from passage.

But the real question is not what the governor accomplished in an arbitrary 100 days, but what he can do over the next 1,360 days to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians. Here’s a few suggestions based on the governor’s goals for Pennsylvania:

Protect taxpayers to foster "jobs that pay."
Elected officials should pass the Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA) to protect the middle-class from reckless spending and tax increases. The TPA limits future government spending to inflation plus population growth. Reining in government spending is critical to creating an economic climate that attracts jobs—and working Pennsylvanians deserve a government that lives within its means.

Put students first to build "schools that teach."
Our education system is broken. From the commonwealth’s senseless funding formula, to wasteful mandates like prevailing wage, to the need for more school choice, there are many ways for the governor to create an education system that truly serves students. Gov. Wolf should work with the legislature to create a funding formula where dollars follow the students, repeal prevailing wage and remove obstacles to greater school choice, such as creating alternative authorizers for charter schools.

Enhance transparency and accountability to create a "government that works."
The lack of transparency in Harrisburg and special privileges enjoyed by select groups have created a system ripe for corruption and abuse. In his next 1,360 days, Governor Wolf has an opportunity to continue promoting transparency by opening the closed-door union contract negotiation process and ending the government unions’ unique privilege of using taxpayer resources for partisan politics.

These reforms are by no means exhaustive, but they would move our state in a pro-growth direction after years of profligate spending, which have failed to revive our historically weak economy. After decades of focusing on finding more revenue for state coffers, it’s time to restrain excessive government and transform Pennsylvania into a state of opportunity again

posted by ELIZABETH STELLE | 11:30 AM | Comments



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The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank.  The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.