A Dramatic Shift in Pennsylvania
From celebration to soul-searching, post-election analysis is everywhere.
While top-of-the-ballot results dominate headlines and your news feed, don’t miss the dramatic shift that occurred last night in Pennsylvania.
Republicans achieved historic majorities in both chambers. In the state House, Republicans will control 60 percent of the seats for the first time in 70 years. In the Senate, Republicans will field the largest majority of any party in 68 years. But that's only part of story.
For years, we’ve talked about the Taxpayer Party vs. the Big Government Party in Harrisburg. Partisan labels aside, the real question is whether a lawmaker represents taxpayers’ interests or toes the government union leaders’ line.
While the Taxpayer Party has grown over the years, it couldn’t always overcome the strength of the Big Government Party. We saw this last month. Pension reform legislation fell three votes short in the House.
Last night in Pennsylvania and around the nation, the Taxpayer Party saw significant gains in state legislatures. Election results in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan showed the political benefit of taking on powerful government union interests to protect taxpayers from tax hikes and special political privileges.
It is no coincidence that over the past five years, Wisconsin and Michigan took bold steps to strengthen the Taxpayer Party, including limiting collective bargaining and passing right-to-reelect and right-to-work legislation.
Similarly, as the Taxpayer Party has grown in Pennsylvania, we’ve begun to see results. For example, Governor Wolf signed contract transparency legislation, and paycheck protection cleared the state Senate. These steps are critical to address rising government spending that's consistently driven by the Big Government party.
Yet, despite the gains of the Taxpayer Party in the General Assembly, divided government will continue in Harrisburg. That's an opportunity.
With an extremely tough budget on the horizon in 2017, the newly minted Legislature must work quickly to address the underlying problems that drive budget debates: surging pensions costs and a broken and expensive welfare system.
What’s more, the strengthened Taxpayer Party has an unprecedented chance to seize opportunities like expanding access to quality education choices and finally removing the state from the booze business.
This will require immense effort and continued vigilance. We’re excited to work towards implementing these ideas to build a stronger, more prosperous Pennsylvania.