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.

Research Items


How Does Pennsylvania's Tax Burden Compare?

Pennsylvania’s tax structure should benefit all Pennsylvanians, not just some. Unfortunately, our state’s stifling tax burden harms residents. Each year, government spending grows, increasing the pressure for higher taxes. These taxes weigh heavily on the state’s economy and lead to slow job and income growth. Lower taxes are the key to a stronger economy.

AUGUST 22, 2016 | Commentary by CHRIS HUGHES

State Government is Killing My Business

In 2013, I opened my first business. I’d overcome many challenges and assumed some gut-wrenching risks to get there, but I did it—and I was proud. But less than three years later, my business—my dream—is on the brink of shutting down because state government is taxing it to death.


School District Labor Contracts: Surprising Provisions

More than 1.7 million students rely on Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts to meet their diverse educational needs. School boards from each district agree to collective bargaining agreements (labor contracts) with local teachers’ unions. These labor contracts, renewed every few years through closed-door negotiations, contain various privileges for unions. This summary highlights key contract provisions that tilt the playing field toward government unions at the expense o


Seven Threats to the 2017-18 Budget

The 2016-17 budget remains unbalanced. Without serious efforts to reduce spending or reform major cost drivers, like public pensions and the sprawling human services system, taxpayers should expect a push for tax hikes in 2017.


Punitive e-Cigarette Tax Could Ax 300 Shops, 1,500 Jobs

Chris Hughes of Fat Cat Vapor Shop in Montoursville is preparing to close his doors for good after Gov. Wolf and lawmakers imposed a 40 percent, retroactive tax on his inventory, effective October 1. Now, one lawmaker is moving to save shop owners like Hughes from losing their livelihoods.

AUGUST 1, 2016 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Games? eBooks? Music? There's a Tax for That

Pennsylvanians who didn’t stock up on iTunes, eBooks, and game apps yesterday will begin paying more today, as the 6 percent sales tax on digital downloads, satellite radio, and streaming video and audio such as Netflix, goes into effect.

JULY 22, 2016 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

DNC in Philly: Top 5 Ways Big-Government Policies Are Killing the Host City


As all eyes turn to Philadelphia next week for the Democratic National Convention, just steps from the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphians are suffering from high taxes, union-controlled public schools, and a government-run liquor monopoly.

JULY 18, 2016 | Policy Points by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

An Analysis of the 2016-17 Budget

On June 30, the legislature passed a $31.6 billion General Fund Budget. Gov. Wolf allowed this budget to become law without his signature on July 12. On July 13, the House and Senate passed a revenue package to pay for the spending plan. Here is what you need to know about the budget.

JULY 14, 2016 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Budget: Still Irresponsible, Still Unbalanced

Yesterday, Gov. Wolf and lawmakers approved a tax and revenue package of more than $1.3 billion. There’s just one problem: The budget remains unbalanced by $300 million.


Legislature Sends $600 Million Tax Increase to Gov. Wolf

Hoping to balance the unconstitutional, unbalanced state budget that Gov. Wolf allowed to become law Monday night, the state House and Senate today voted to hit Pennsylvanians with an array of taxes that will make listening to iTunes, reading eBooks, or watching Netflix more expensive.

Total Records: 629

Public Remains Supportive of School Choice

August 30

That’s the upshot of the 10th annual public opinion survey from Education Next, which covers a range of topics including school choice, school spending, personnel policy, testing, and accountability. The entire poll results are worth reading—check out the interactive results from 2016, as ...