4 Ideas to Improve Pennsylvania

Join the Commonwealth Foundation to help promote better public policy

1. Policies to Increase Fairness

  • Pennsylvanians deserve fairness under the law in their government and workplace—not corruption and coercion. We work to expose and eliminate special interests’ unfair privileges and defend the rights of each taxpayer, voter, worker, and resident.
  • Public Union Democracy: Compulsory public unions threaten individual worker rights and cost taxpayers billions. Reforms to the Pennsylvania Public Employee Relations Act are needed to restore and protect workers’ rights. No one—including government employees—should be blocked from leaving a union. 
  • Government Accountability: The state government is ultimately held accountable to the people through the electoral process—but that should not be the only line of defense against government overreach or waste. Taxpayers deserve a transparent government that works for them. Reforms are needed to reduce corruption and limit the scope of government to its constitutional authority. 

2. Policies to Improve Personal Independence

  • People enjoy the highest quality of life when they are not dependent on the government. We stand by policies that empower vulnerable Pennsylvanians to move from dependency to self-sufficiency by incentivizing work and removing obstacles to gainful employment for all people.
  • Welfare: The continued growth in public welfare spending is unsustainable. The federal government is responsible for much of the welfare system, but states can adopt reforms that preserve welfare resources for the most vulnerable. 
  • Healthcare: Under Obamacare, Pennsylvania families have been forced to pay more for health care, and more than 800,000 Pennsylvania adults have received taxpayer-funded health coverage through a broken Medicaid system. 
  • Criminal Justice Reform: Pennsylvania’s Justice Reinvestment Initiatives of 2012 and 2019 successfully reduced the state’s prison population while maintaining community safety. But our work is far from over. With a state recidivism rate of 41 percent, now is the time for reforms that promote reintegration into society and enable the criminal justice system to focus its resources where it counts. 

3. Policies to Expand Opportunity

  • Children thrive in learning environments suited to their needs, not those dictated by their zip codes. We advocate for expanded education options for all children and to restore parental choice so that every family, regardless of income level, can get an excellent education—one that fits their needs.
  • Education: Pennsylvania’s future is in the hands of the next generation. Parents and students—not activist agendas—should drive the Commonwealth’s education policy. While policymakers have been entrusted with ensuring the next generation receives a quality education, parents should be empowered to choose the quality education that meets their unique child’s needs. 

4. Policies to Promote Prosperity

  • Families, business owners, and job-seekers plant roots in states that foster economic growth. We have defeated billions of dollars in tax hikes and continue to champion fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget. With the right economic policy, Pennsylvania has the potential to serve as an example to other states as a beacon of opportunity.
  • Regulation: Pennsylvania’s notoriously high level of regulation is a burden on our state economy. To make the Keystone State a competitive place to live, work, or grow a business, reforms are needed to rein in the regulatory process. 
  • Taxes & Economy: High taxes make for a slow-growing economy. And communities feel the pinch of high taxes as more and more native Pennsylvanians leave the Keystone State to prosper elsewhere. To remain economically competitive, Pennsylvania must lower state taxes and ensure businesses have the opportunity to succeed. 
  • State Budget: Pennsylvania’s complex state budget has enabled policymakers to keep taxpayers in the dark when it comes to state spending. Year after year, some elected officials use budget gimmicks to both make the budget appear balanced and to secure their own agendas.