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. Additionally, reforms that ensure a transparent budgeting process, a fair electoral process, and a streamlined regulatory process should be pursued to increase the government’s integrity.

Government Accountability

Fiscal Code Packed with Earmarks

  • James Paul
  • January 12, 2016

Pennsylvania's fiscal code is intended to provide lawmakers with instructions for spending funds appropriated in the state budget. But it is also ground-zero for a host of earmarks that funnel limited…

Media

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Education

Governor Wolf’s Budget Hostages

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • January 6, 2016

Tom Wolf finally admitted he held school children hostage in hopes of higher taxes: “We're now at a point where I don't want to hold the children of Pennsylvania hostage.” But…

Media

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Government Accountability

State Budget Should Consider Pa. Freedom Index

  • December 16, 2015

State Budget Should Consider Pa. Freedom Index Commonwealth Ranks Mediocre 21st in Economic Freedom  December 16, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Pennsylvania may be home to the cradle of liberty, but…

Press Release

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Government Accountability

PA Fails Integrity Test

  • November 16, 2015

There is a clear need for improved governmental accountability and transparency in Pennsylvania, but how does the commonwealth compare to the rest of the country? According to the Center…

Media

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Education

For Property Tax Relief, Give Voters Control

  • James Paul
  • November 13, 2015

Should voters have the right to approve property tax increases? This is a central point of contention within a rumored budget framework that purports to provide Pennsylvanians with property tax…

Media

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Government Accountability

Union Political Spending in the 2015 Pennsylvania Elections

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 12, 2015

The problem isn't that unions give a lot, or even that they dominate political spending. The problem is that government union dues and campaign contributions are collected at taxpayer expense…

Memo

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Government Accountability

Union Dues fund SuperPAC Attack Ads

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 2, 2015

Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform—a new “SuperPAC” (technically an “Independent Expenditure Committee”) registered in August—has spent about $2.5 million on attack ads in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race. Who…

Media

Read More: Union Dues fund SuperPAC Attack Ads

Government Accountability

A Revolving Door of Corruption

  • James Paul
  • October 26, 2015

The revolving door of politics—when top government officials change careers and become consultants for the industry they once regulated—is alive and well in Pennsylvania. Except in the case of the…

Media

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Criminal Justice Reform

Audio: Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

  • Jonathan Reginella
  • October 22, 2015

In Pennsylvania, civil asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agents to legally seize property without convicting an individual of a crime. These laws turn justice on its head, allowing police…

Media

Read More: Audio: Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

Government Accountability

Three Reforms that Transcend Party Lines

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • October 21, 2015

Budget gridlock is hamstringing Harrisburg, but when it comes to transparency and accountability, a bipartisan majority of Pennsylvanians support three key reforms. Paycheck protection, transparency in government union contract negotiations,…

Media

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Government Accountability

The Last to Know

  • October 20, 2015

Last week the Crestwood Area School Board tentatively agreed to a new contract with the school district’s local union leadership. In keeping with the prevailing trend across the…

Media

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Government Accountability

Taxpayers Deserve a Debate

  • October 14, 2015

A dispute in the Scranton School District over the cost of a teachers’ contract is another example of why the collective bargaining process must become more transparent. According to the…

Media

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Government Accountability

Poll: Large Majorities Back Transparency & Accountability Reforms

  • October 13, 2015

Poll: Large Majorities in PA Back Transparency & Accountability Reforms Paycheck Protection, Contract Transparency, Spending Limits Get High Marks October 13, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Critical transparency and accountability measures…

Press Release

Read More: Poll: Large Majorities Back Transparency & Accountability Reforms

Government Accountability

Secret Contract Leaves Taxpayers in the Dark

  • September 29, 2015

In a special Friday night voting session, board members in Monessen School District unanimously approved a new teachers’ contract, which runs through 2018. The terms of the contract, including…

Media

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Government Accountability

Too Close for Comfort: Gov. Wolf and SEIU

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • August 27, 2015

New documents obtained by the Commonwealth Foundation (publicized by the Post-Gazette in a recent story) show a frightening closeness between Gov. Wolf and union leaders, particularly leaders at the SEIU. In…

Media

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Government Accountability

Transparency is the Antidote to Quid Pro Quo Politics

  • August 24, 2015

Did Attorney General Kathleen Kane promise a sweetheart deal to union leaders in exchange for support of her controversial chief of staff? According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, enough evidence exists to…

Media

Read More: Transparency is the Antidote to Quid Pro Quo Politics

Government Accountability

Something Pennsylvania Government Does Pretty Well

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 19, 2015

A new report on state spending transparency websites gives Pennsylvania’s site—PennWatch—a solid ‘B’ grade. Created through legislation passed in 2011, PennWatch offers data—down to the “checkbook level”—on state…

Media

Read More: Something Pennsylvania Government Does Pretty Well

Government Accountability

New Contract, Still no Transparency

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 14, 2015

The newest state contract with AFSCME—the union representing more than 30,000 state workers—was signed earlier this week. The contract was agreed to in April, then ratified by…

Media

Read More: New Contract, Still no Transparency

Government Accountability

Transparency 10 Years after the Pay Raise

  • Elizabeth Stelle, James Paul
  • July 7, 2015

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the midnight pay raise. Although it was ultimately repealed, the pay raise was a dark hour in Pennsylvania political history. Over the…

Media

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Government Accountability

Contract Transparency Still Critical

  • June 29, 2015

Harrisburg is abuzz as the budget battle continues. With high profile legislation on liquor privatization, pension and education reform receiving much attention, it’s easy to lose sight of a fundamental…

Media

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Government Accountability

An Update on Union Contracts

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 25, 2015

Earlier this week, the House State Government Committee moved SB 644 and SB 645—bills which would provide taxpayers greater information about contracts with government unions—to the House floor.

Media

Read More: An Update on Union Contracts