Lawmakers Should Read ALL Commonwealth Foundation Research

In a recent op-ed, Sen. Scarnati and Sen. Pileggi defended the Senate’s recent actions after a Lincoln Institute column described them as “leftist”.

While the Senators cite CF’s research on the Independent Fiscal Office accurately—noting it would be a victory for transparency and taxpayers—in defense of their policy position, they failed to note Commonwealth Foundation analysis on other issues they discuss.

For example, HB 400, which successfully passed the Senate, is essentially a handout to organized labor at the cost of the independent subcontractor, as we previously noted. This legislation adds a host of new mandates for contractors and employers who hire contract workers, increasing the cost of construction and undermining economic growth. Under this regulation, those seeking, of their own free will, to become an independent contractor will need the permission of a government bureaucrat, according to a series of requirements.

Even less impressive was the Senators defense of HB 1128. This legislation would increase Pennsylvania’s alternative energy mandates, a topic we have written about extensively in the past. HB 1128 would undoubtedly raise electricity prices in Pennsylvania by requiring that utility companies purchase more energy from more expensive sources.

Perhaps more troubling was the misleading defense of why the Senate’s vote to pass HB 1128 was appropriate. The Senators note the legislation passed the House unanimously last year, but it was different legislation at that time.

A Senate committee amended the legislation to add renewable energy mandates. HB 1128 was originally about gas pipeline safety violations, not solar mandates—we dubbed it the “Solar Pipeline Bill”. Similar to the debacle with the severance tax bill (SB 1155), the original intent of the bill was changed, and it contains multiple subjects—unless sunlight will be transported via pipeline—which the PA Constitution prohibits. Like SB 1155, this legislation could face Constitutional challenges.