Should Pennsylvania Strive to Become #51?

Political realities forced Gov. Wolf to scale back his record tax-and-spend proposals from the past two years. Still, he didn’t completely abandon his government-centric approach, opting to include $1 billion in tax hikes and spending increases in his latest budget plan.

But a new analysis from WalletHub should throw cold water on the governor’s proposal and any budget built on a foundation of higher taxes. The analysis ranks each state by tax burden, using median household income to draw comparisons among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

WalletHub ranked Pennsylvania 41st overall, giving us the 11th-highest tax burden in the country. If you’re a regular reader of CF publications, you’re probably not surprised by the poor showing. We have consistently drawn attention to Pennsylvania’s burdensome tax climate, which makes earning a decent living difficult for many.

Yet, calls for higher taxes persist. This raises a question that is rarely, if ever, addressed: How much is enough? Will Pennsylvania need to fall to 45th, 47th or perhaps 51st before the Big Government Party realizes higher taxes are not the solution?

High taxes negatively affect economic growth, destroy livelihoods, and fail to solve problems associated with structural budget trends. If lawmakers want to avoid the mistakes of the past, they need to hold the line on tax increases and focus on reducing the costs of a bloated state government.

Embracing Innovation in State Government offers numerous reforms to reduce government waste, eliminate nonessential state programs, and fix the underlying problems in the state’s corrections, education, and human services budgets.

The key to revitalizing Pennsylvania is to create an economic climate that encourages job growth. That requires reducing the government's role in the economy and allowing the private sector to lead the way.