Commonwealth Foundation’s Tax and Spending work stems from the axiom that "you can grow the government, or you can grow the economy, but you can’t grow both." Pennsylvania government spending has consistently outpaced inflation, and our state and local tax burden has risen relative to other states. Yet the commonwealth has lagged the nation in economic growth. To ensure a prosperous state in which all Pennsylvanians enjoy an abundance of opportunities to provide for themselves, their families and their neighbors, we must restrain the growth of state spending, restore government to its proper role, and identify ways to keep more money in the hands of taxpayers.
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.