Center for Taxes & Fiscal Responsibility
The Center for Taxes & Fiscal Responsibility works to reduce the size, scope, and “tax-take” of state government; restore the government sector to its proper and limited role in our lives; and make government more open, transparent, and accountable to citizens.
Within hours of receiving the Legislature’s budget, Governor Wolf issued a blow to working families by vetoing the on-time, no-tax-hike spending plan. The truth is, Gov. Wolf’s own plan is grossly out of line with every other state in the union put together. All 49 other states combined are decreasing spending by $1.5 billion, yet Wolf is demanding a $4.6 billion increase for Pennsylvania.
Last night, the Pennsylvania Legislature sent a monumental public pension reform measure to Gov. Wolf’s desk that gives new state employees and school teachers a hybrid defined contribution and cash balance retirement plan.
June 30, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Today, the General Assembly passed a state budget that respects Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned incomes by avoiding tax hikes while investing responsibly in the state’s future.
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.
Today, the state House of Representatives passed a state budget that lives within its means without demanding higher taxes on Pennsylvania’s working families—rejecting the record-setting tax increases proposed by Gov. Wolf earlier this year.
Dear Governor Wolf: As you pursue massive tax increases on working Pennsylvanians and rebuke legislators and job creators for “appeas[ing] oil and gas special interests,” I felt it necessary to point out your own appeasement of certain private, political special interests—the government union leaders.
Pension costs are ballooning, threatening to consume funds for education, public safety and welfare. Without timely reform, Pennsylvanians will face cuts to services, teacher layoffs, and higher property taxes. Yet there is widespread confusion about the impact of pension reform.
Gov. Wolf’s cradle-to-grave tax plan asks Pennsylvanians to sacrifice some big-ticket items—$1,400 per family of four and 40,000 private sector jobs—all to fund a bloated state budget that has grown $4,000 per person over the past 45 years and spends tax dollars at an astonishing $1,000 per second.
Recently, Gov. Tom Wolf sent a letter to 17 business advocacy groups opposing his proposed severance tax on natural gas, accusing them of siding “with corporate special interests who simply seek to oppose progress and real economic development.” The irony is, the chief proponents of the severance tax are government union special interests looking for a cut of Pennsylvania’s productive natural gas industry.
Because such labor contracts involve billions of taxpayer dollars, citizens have a right to know what each side is proposing before being legally obligated to fund them. In addition, Pennsylvania should require state labor unions representing government workers to file annual financial reports demonstrating how union dues are spent.
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Who are We?
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.