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.
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.
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a new severance tax on natural gas extraction, which he claims will generate more than $1 billion annually for public schools. The proposal fails to consider the energy tax’s impact on employment and utility prices. Moreover, it fails to account for what gas drillers already pay in taxes, fees, and royalties to landowners.
For years, government union leaders have attacked 401(k)-style reforms to the current pension system as “risky,” “inferior,” “bad for employees,” “fiscally irresponsible,” and “unfair to workers.” But the Commonwealth Foundation has uncovered that Pennsylvania’s government unions provide 401(k)-style retirement plans to their own employees.
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.
With budget traffic at a standstill, how do we press through the roadblock to a resolution that benefits all Pennsylvanians?
Gov. Wolf’s 'Schools That Teach' public relations tour and statewide ad campaigns supporting him aren’t telling voters the truth about the budget impasse or the governor's tax proposal.
Pop quiz: What’s the largest spending increase in Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal? You might assume education, as the governor has repeatedly insisted the state must reinvest in public schools. Paying for ballooning public pension costs would also be a reasonable guess. But neither is correct.
Today, Governor Tom Wolf vetoed historic pension reform legislation that would have safeguarded public employees’ retirements while protecting Pennsylvanians from burdensome tax increases.
In his 2015 budget address, Gov. Tom Wolf urged dissenters, “If you don’t agree with my ideas, here is my request: please come with your own ideas. It's not good enough to just say no and continue with the same old same old.” Talk is one thing—action is another.
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.
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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.