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.
The enacted $29 billion General Fund budget (a 1.88 percent increase over 2013-2014) and $71.4 billion total operating budget represent Pennsylvania’s highest spending levels ever—exceeding years when federal stimulus dollars were used to balance the budget.