Pennsylvania State Budget
Combined with the federal tax rate, Pennsylvania businesses pay the second highest tax on their profits in the entire industrialized world.
Cyber schools currently spend significantly less per student than school districts and only represent about 1% of spending on public education. Discrepancies in cyber school funding are the result of problems in the overall system of public education finance. Reductions to cyber school funding fail to address these issues. Cyber schools ha
That's why leaders in statehouses across the country should do the right thing and follow Pennsylvania's lead. Instead of waiting for dollars and dictates from D.C. to expand a broken program, our states can save our ailing health care system by fixing Medicaid themselves.
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Cancelled health care plans, an unusable exchange website—do we still trust the federal government to deliver on its health care promises?
In what could be a sign of what's to come, the federal government looks likely to give less funding to Pennsylvania for matching welfare costs. Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth estimates a formula change would result in a $325 million reduction in Medicaid funding for Pennsylvania next year. Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and the federal taxpayers, with the federal government chipping in more than half of the costs.
While Medicaid spending is already out of control, these cuts don’t come along with the flexibility Pennsylvania needs to revamp its program to save costs and provide better care to low-income families.
This could become new normal if Pennsylvania accepts federal Medicaid expansion funds to purchase insurance for low-income individuals on the exchange boondoggle. President Obama has already twice proposed reducing the matching rates for Medicaid expansion.
The federal reductions should serve as a warning to resist any form of "free federal money."
Gov. Corbett signed a more than $28 billion budget at the end of June—but was it a win for you the taxpayer? CF policy experts offer answers on this and more of your questions, video below.
Prefer an audio-only version? Click here to listen in podcast format.
- Is Medicaid expansion finally dead?
- What happened with liquor privatization?
- With a Republican governor and Republican majorities in the House and Senate, why can't we get common sense reforms across the goal line?
- Do reforms still have a chance in the Fall?
- What can you do to effectively make your voice heard on these issues?
Find out what the major obstacles preventing liquor privatization and pension reform are in our latest commentary, Big Government Party Blocks Bold Reforms.
And thank you for contacting your legislators as things came down to the wire in June!
The state budget deadline came and went without passage of any of the "Big Three" policy items—liquor store privatization, pension reform, or transportation tax and fee increases. It was clear heading down the stretch that while pension reform made progress, there wasn't agreement on all the details.
But many pundits expected deals to be cut to get liquor privatization and transportation done. So what happened?
To the surprise of many, government union bosses spent last weekend trying to stop the House from passing any transportation funding plan. Their opposition wasn't done because of any principled opposition to the proposal, but solely out of spite. Their lobbying effort was aimed at blocking transportation funding so the Senate would not act on liquor store privatization, despite having both legislative and public support for that.
PA Independent notes emails sent from leadership of the Independent State Stores Union, representing liquor store managers, trying to thwart the entire policy agenda.
As further evidence that the two issues are linked: on Saturday, a union opposing liquor privatization began urging House Democrats to block the transportation bill – despite the fact that other major unions in the state favor the transportation spending plan that would put an estimated 12,000 people to work.
"Privatization is now being tied to transportation funding currently being deliberated by the House. Call your House Representative, Republican or Democrat, and tell them to vote NO to transportation until the Senate pulls the plug on privatization of the state stores," read a portion of the email sent by the Independent State Store Union, which represents managerial-level employees in the state-run liquor system.
It seems that the efforts of the government unions were effective, at least for the time being. As the Patriot News reports,
Meanwhile, House Republicans pointed to an email from union leaders as perhaps the culprit behind the Democrats’'stubbornness about negotiate their demands. The email urged union members to call on lawmakers to vote against the transportation bill "until the Senate pulls the plug on privatization of the state stores."
For those who still wonder why these major reforms stalled out, look no further than the special interests who would do anything to preserve the status quo.
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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.
In the last year, the Pennsylvania State Education Association poured $3.8 million of its members' dues into "political activities and lobbying," according to its 2013 financial disclosure report. That's an increase of 46 percent in the last five years. Bear in mind this spending comes from teachers' ...