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.
Governor Corbett's proposed budget of $29.4 billion in general fund spending and $71.8 billion in spending from all funds represents our highest spending levels ever—exceeding years when federal stimulus dollars inflated total spending.
Ceremonies in Punxsutawney have come and gone, but every year Groundhog Day reminds me of the film of the same name—in which Bill Murray lives the same day over and over again. Gov. Tom Corbett's state budget address generated a similar feeling of déjà vu.
The long-term fiscal challenges facing the state cast a shadow over this year’s budget address. Governor Corbett previously signed the first budget in the last 40 years that reduced state spending and has been able to balance the budget without further taxing Pennsylvania’s working families. Today’s budget address continues that trend by controlling spending levels and emphasizing needed cost-saving programs.
Over the past six fiscal years, the commonwealth has spent more than it has taken in. This fiscal gap is projected to widen as expenditures are on pace to grow faster than future revenue. Such a structural deficit poses a threat to the very foundations of economic growth and job creation that lead to prosperity for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.
Know that feeling a month after Christmas when the credit card statement shows you blew your holiday budget? Imagine the pain you’d experience after six consecutive years of spending beyond your means. That’s the situation facing our state government—unless the commonwealth resolves to end the spending binge and tighten its budget belt a notch or two.
Is your family ready to lose a mortgage payment or give up cellphone service for increased property and state taxes? Or would you rather see 33,000 public school teachers in Pennsylvania — nearly one out of every three — lose their jobs? With pension costs set to drive up the average family's taxes by up to nearly $900 annually, those are the harsh choices Pennsylvanians face unless we demand reform now.
Is your family ready to pay nearly $900 more in property taxes and state taxes per year? Are you prepared to see 33,000 public school teachers in Pennsylvania — nearly one out of every three — lose their jobs? Those are the realities facing taxpayers and educators if we don’t get a handle on our public pension costs.
When government unions engage in labor disputes, they use their power and monopoly to remind the public of the value of their service. However, schoolchildren should never have to bear the brunt of the union’s grievances.
As another Labor Day comes to pass, it's worth reflecting on the legacy of Detroit and its workers. Detroit's bankruptcy is a warning to other cities—and even states—that public pension systems are a ticking time bomb with potentially catastrophic consequences.
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.
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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.
Federal charges of racketeering and arson against several Philadelphia union members, who called themselves The Helpful Union Guys (or T.H.U.G.s) has renewed interest in closing a loophole in state law, exempting parties in a labor dispute from prosecution. Under current law, anyone involved in a labor ...