Pennsylvania State Budget

Recent Issues

Borrowing 'Dumb' Ideas on Pension Reform

AUGUST 24, 2015 | Commentary by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Would you take out a second mortgage on your home to bet on the stock market? Such an idea deserves ridicule—if not alarm. You’d be putting your home and your family at risk. Unfortunately, Gov. Tom Wolf has similar plans for borrowing money to play the market—and you and your children would be cosigners on that debt.  

Wolf’s 'Compromise' Rings Hollow

AUGUST 18, 2015 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

As budget negotiations continue, Gov. Wolf recently called Republicans “disingenuous” for criticizing his pension “compromise.” But Wolf’s so-called “compromise” uncannily mirrors his original plan and does not address his plan to increase taxes on Pennsylvanians by $1,400 per family of four.

A Way Out of Budget Gridlock

AUGUST 10, 2015 | Commentary by MATTHEW BROUILLETTE

With budget traffic at a standstill, how do we press through the roadblock to a resolution that benefits all Pennsylvanians?

Recent Blog Posts

Audio: Weathering the Budget Impasse


Another day passes without a state budget in Pennsylvania, causing panic among public officials who can't pay the bills and among parents who have children attending schools unable to make payroll

Still, Gov. Wolf refuses to make meaningful compromises with state legislators. As a result, the people in both the public and private sector dependent on state funding are forced to make difficult choices to keep their operations going.  

So how has this budget impasse unfolded? CF’s Matt Brouillette joined WDAC’s Greg Barton to discuss its origins and why Gov. Wolf is standing in the way of a solution. 

Matt explains how Gov. Wolf's “veto of the budget in totality”–despite agreeing with 274 of 400 line items in that budget–could mean he won't be budging from his plans to levy the largest tax increase in state history any time soon.

Legislators have attempted to compromise with Gov. Wolf by offering a $400 million increase for education in exchange for pension reform. Two weeks after the offer, Gov. Wolf has yet to respond.

With no sense of urgency on the part of the governor, Matt believes it may take a crisis to move things along: “This, of course, is going to only come to a precipice when we see schools clamoring or having to borrow significant amounts of money because they’re lacking in state aid or the service agencies not being able to provide the services that needy citizens need.”

Click here or listen below to hear more.

Greg Barton’s Spotlight program airs on WDAC 94.5 FM on Saturdays at 12:30 pm.

Follow Commonwealth Foundation’s SoundCloud stream for more of our audio content.

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posted by JONATHAN REGINELLA | 05:28 PM | Comments

Audio: A Look at Gov. Wolf's "Concessions"

AUGUST 26, 2015

As state budget negotiations drag on, Gov. Wolf is pointing the finger at Republicans, claiming they have refused to move after he made “concessions on everything." So what compromises are included in these so-called concessions?

To name a few, Wolf’s original spending plan; Wolf’s original plan to increase the income tax; Wolf’s original plan to increase the sales tax; and Wolf’s original plan to borrow $3 billion in pension obligation bonds.

CF’s Matt Brouillette spoke with Gary Sutton on WSBA yesterday to discuss Gov. Wolf’s alleged budget compromises.

Matt explained how Gov. Wolf’s pension plan only includes reforms for 5 percent of current employees. It would do little to upend the destructive status quo, ensuring the pension system's problems are passed onto future generations.

Legislative leaders wisely rejected this “compromise” while responding with their own offer–one they hope will lead Gov. Wolf to abandon his unpopular budget proposal.

Click here or listen below to hear more.

The Gary Sutton Show airs daily on WSBA 910AM in the York area.

Follow Commonwealth Foundation’s SoundCloud stream for more of our audio content.

For mobile listening, get the SoundCloud iPhone and Android apps.

posted by JONATHAN REGINELLA | 11:34 AM | Comments

Will Wolf Take 'Yes' for an Answer?

AUGUST 25, 2015

On June 30, state lawmakers passed a budget that offers $10.4 billion in state support for public schools. This represents an all-time high—indeed, an increase from last year’s all-time high—and represents a $1 billion increase since 2010-11.

Recently, legislative leaders offered Gov. Wolf a deal that would increase education spending by another $300 million. At the time of this writing, Gov. Wolf is “still considering” this offer. The governor is struggling to take "yes" for an answer.

The chart below compares the budget passed by the General Assembly, the compromise offered by Republican leaders, and Governor Wolf's proposal (which comes with $8 billion annually in new taxes on working families).

Support of Public Education Veto

posted by NATHAN BENEFIELD | 04:25 PM | Comments

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