Center for Economic Freedom & Prosperity
The Center for Economic Freedom and Prosperity promotes economic policies that limit government intervention in the economy; encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and competition; and allow Pennsylvanians to pursue their own happiness and take personal responsibility for their lives.
Last week, the first political attack ad by a “SuperPAC” in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race was released. The organization behind the ad, PA Families First, benefited from a federal court ruling earlier this year allowing “independent expenditure committees” (commonly called SuperPACs) to accept an unlimited amount of union dues to spend on partisan politics.
Paul Battista told a Congressional subcommittee last year: “We can now pay a higher family-sustaining wage! We have people working for us that are the primary breadwinners of their household.” But each year, Paul’s family business—and that of countless job creators—is threatened by efforts to bolster school funding by raising business taxes.
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled the IRS could not provide tax credits or subsidies to individuals with insurance policies purchased on the federal health exchange. The ruling calls into question whether major portions of the Affordable Care Act—the individual and employer mandates—can be implemented in as many as 36 states, including Pennsylvania.
Today, credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Pennsylvania’s general obligation bond rating from Aa2 to Aa3, citing the state’s use of one-time budgetary stop-gap measures and the continued underfunding of public pensions. This marks the third credit downgrade from ratings agencies in as many years.
A contentious budget season has officially ended after Governor Corbett signed a $29 billion appropriations bill into law. But is it fiscally responsible? And what’s holding up reforms on the major issues, like pension reform, facing taxpayers across the state?
Today, the governor identified the special interests that oppose any kind of fiscally responsible pension reform: government union leaders,” commented Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. “That Gov. Corbett feels a line-item veto is needed to force action on this issue illustrates the immense power these government union executives wield in Harrisburg.
While state lawmakers approved a state budget without enacting pension reform, Detroit’s failure to address the same issue illustrates the painful consequences of inaction—a proposed 4.5 percent cut in benefits for retirees.
From my vantage point on the frontlines of Pennsylvania’s public schools, I see teachers’ unions with money to spend and power to wield who are unresponsive to the very people they’re supposed to represent. Giving them special treatment that boosts their political ambitions is not the way to make them pay more attention to local education problems.
July 1, 2014, Harrisburg, Pa—Yesterday, Gov. Corbett withheld his signature from the state budget in a bold attempt to force action on substantive pension reform. Today, despite near-universal acknowledgement of a looming pension crisis, the House pension vehicle was sent back to committee—a move backed by government union leaders.
June 30, 2014, Harrisburg, Pa—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court reined in government union leaders and freed certain government employees from overreach. A majority of Justices agreed in Harris v. Quinn that home care workers in Illinois cannot be forced to pay a public union.
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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.