If public policy was for Thanksgiving dinner, what should be on the menu?
It’s an unusual question, but while I’m looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving meal, I’m also looking forward to policy changes that allow all Pennsylvanians to flourish. Here are some thoughts.
Let’s start with the turkey—the Pennsylvania state budget. It’s the biggest, most expensive item on the table. Everyone will fight to grab a piece of it. But despite perception that it’s lean, there’s plenty of fat to cut out. Moreover, there’s plenty of temptation to consume too much rather than practice portion control. Lastly, there’s the question of what to do with leftovers: consume more tomorrow, or let the hosts keep what they paid for.
Stuffing is corporate welfare. It makes the turkey bloated but isn’t healthy. You don’t need it, and it takes away from the ability to put better items on the plate.
Criminal justice reform is our mashed potatoes. Democrats like it, Republicans like it. It’s hard to make enough to satiate appetites.
Cranberry relish: Like card check legislation to take away the secret ballot in union elections and release workers’ personal information, avoid this at all costs. Don’t even put it on the table; it is terrible.
You have to have a crowd-pleaser like corn on the table to attract guests. In the same way, Pennsylvania needs tax reform to make our state more competitive and attractive to small businesses and families.
Pension reform is the vegetables we ought to eat. Admittedly, it’s not the tastiest item on the menu, and yes, we ate some vegetables in 2017 and are a lot healthier as a result. But we need more—paying off $70 billion in unfunded liabilities and addressing the municipal pension crisis are choices we need to make to protect our fiscal health.
Whether or not you drink wine with your dinner, the fact that you can buy alcohol at the same store with all your other food is a huge policy win to be thankful for. Further liquor reform—even letting families buy all this at the same cash register—needs to be part of the menu.
We want our dinner to include great selection of pies for all tastes: apple, pecan, cherry, peach, and pumpkin—just as we want to give families a wide selection of educational options. Everyone can choose the pie that best fit their appetite, just as parents should choose the best educational option for their kids. You shouldn’t have your pie chosen by your ZIP code.
Finally, at our policy dinner, you can feel free to get up and leave at any time. Unlike government union leaders, we will let you leave whenever you choose, if you find no value in what’s on the menu.
That’s a policy feast Pennsylvania families could be thankful for.