Say you’re working your way through college, supplementing student loans with a part-time job managing inventory at Wegmans. You make a decent hourly wage, but your health insurance benefits are key, saving you thousands per year in premium costs. Then, one Monday, your boss tells you part-timers are no longer eligible for benefits.
Jim VanBlarcom, a busy Bradford County dairy farmer, set a work day aside to come to Harrisburg and tell his story to Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale panel. Royalty money from leasing farmland helped him double his dairy herd size, and he's glad the industry's here.
Penn's Woods are darker and deeper in red ink than ever before thanks to the tax-borrow-and-spend agenda of the Rendell Administration and some General Assembly members who failed to put Pennsylvania back on a path to prosperity. To add insult to injury last month, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Pennsylvania would lose another C
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Did you know that raising the minimum wage harms the low-skilled workers the policy is meant to help?
Or that prevailing wage laws artificially increase the cost of public works projects at the expense of lower taxes or expanded government services?
Associate Professor of Economics Matthew Rousu joins us for a wide-ranging discussion on Pennsylvania's labor policy in our latest Google+ Hangout and podcast.
Matt teaches at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., and has written on economics for Forbes and US News and World Report as well as for Pennsylvania newspapers The Patriot-News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Matt helps us rethink the impact of economic policies that seem beneficial on the surface but have unintended negative consequences.
Click here for an audio-only podcast version.
Want to hear more from Professor Rousu? Visit his blog on economic policy at paeconomist.blogspot.com.
Things are looking somewhat up for Pennsylvania’s economy, according to the annual Rich States, Poor States published by ALEC. The 2013 edition ranks Pennsylvania 34th in economic outlook, up from 40th last year and the highest economic ranking since the index’s creation.
Rich States, Poor States considers 15 factors heavily influenced by state policies to predict how a state’s economy will perform. While the commonwealth’s high tax burden and lack of worker freedom continue to hinder growth, a slowdown in state spending and continued phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax have helped the state move from the bottom third to the middle-of-the pack.
But middle-of-the-pack isn’t good enough. To continue to attract jobs and investment, Pennsylvania will have to tackle big cost drivers like Medicaid and the pension tsunami. Continued tax reforms will help too, such as Governor Corbett’s latest proposal, which we estimate will create more than 2,500 new jobs by 2018 if enacted.
Earlier this week, GE announced plans to move 950 jobs from Erie, Pa. to Texas. What is one of the key reasons Pennsylvania continues to lose jobs and population to states like Texas? Economic freedom.
The Mercatus Center's latest edition of Freedom in the 50 States underlines the problem hindering the opportunities available to Pennsylvanians. The study ranks the Keystone State 31st overall on its freedom index. The reasoning:
The state's ranking remains mediocre on fiscal policy. It has higher-than-average taxes but performs much better than most states on government spending and employment. However, it has high government debt and is not as fiscally decentralized as most states.
Not only are Pennsylvanians taxed too much, but we are neck deep in government debt. The analysis also scored our state below average in business regulations and tort abuse.
Study after study finds that economic freedom results in higher quality of life. States with more economic freedom see higher rates of GDP growth, lower unemployment, and lower levels of state and local debt. Economic freedom also leads to higher incomes, less poverty, better environments, and even longer lives.
This short video from Duquesne University professor and CF Scholar Antony Davies underscores the benefits of economic freedom.
Who are We?
The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank. The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.
Remember the shadowy group, Pennsylvanians for Accountability, which ran "shell game" prime time attack ads on Gov. Tom Corbett for "bankrolling big tax cuts for his corporate backers"? The group also ran mailers targeting several House Republicans. There was little to identify the origins of the ...