Many Pennsylvanians face chronic unemployment, welfare dependency, and the cycle of poverty. This happens because labor incentives have been overridden by bad policies that keep millions out of the workforce and enact excessive red tape. We can reverse this trend by ending the practice of waiving work requirements on able-bodied Pennsylvanians with no dependents, removing barriers to employment for those seeking a fresh start, and creating a healthcare system without burdensome regulations.

Healthcare

Where Have All the Human Service Dollars Gone?

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • February 10, 2020

Nearly half of Pennsylvania's budget goes to human services or welfare. Governor Wolf wants to increase human service spending by $1.4 billion next year. But how well are these programs…

Commentary

Read More: Where Have All the Human Service Dollars Gone?

Criminal Justice Reform

Pa. Prison Population Plummets by Most in History — Again

  • January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa.—Pennsylvania’s prison population dropped by 1,495 individuals in 2019, according to new Department of Corrections numbers—the sharpest decline ever recorded. The number of incarcerated Pennsylvanians…

Press Release

Read More: Pa. Prison Population Plummets by Most in History — Again

Criminal Justice Reform

CF’s 2020 Vision

  • January 1, 2020

The Commonwealth Foundation’s mission sounds pretty simple: transform free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish. Accomplishing that mission—with a divided government, powerful special interests, and a diverse…

Media

Read More: CF’s 2020 Vision

Criminal Justice Reform

Crime Declines as Pa. Passes Criminal Justice Reforms

  • Jessica Barnett
  • December 30, 2019

Responsible, smart reforms are paying dividends in Pennsylvania’s correction system—and recently passed reforms aim to build upon this success. The state Department of Corrections released a statement and…

Media

Read More: Crime Declines as Pa. Passes Criminal Justice Reforms

Criminal Justice Reform

Pa. Leading Nation on Smart Justice Reform

  • December 18, 2019

December 18, 2019, Harrisburg, Pa. – Today, the Pa. Legislature passed two bills that firmly establish Pennsylvania as a national leader on criminal justice reform. Senate Bills 500 and…

Press Release

Read More: Pa. Leading Nation on Smart Justice Reform

Taxes & Economy

Feds Restore Foodstamp Rules: Providing a Pathway to Independence

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • December 6, 2019

Pennsylvanians are experiencing the lowest unemployment rates on record and wages are rising, including wages at the lower end of the pay scale. Across the country 16 states have restored…

Media

Read More: Feds Restore Foodstamp Rules: Providing a Pathway to Independence

Criminal Justice Reform

Pa. Senate Passes Legislation Removing Employment Barriers

  • Jessica Barnett
  • November 23, 2019

Individuals like Ericka Miller and Amanda Spillane are one step closer to having a fair opportunity to pursue success and live their American dream. On Thursday, the state Senate…

Media

Read More: Pa. Senate Passes Legislation Removing Employment Barriers

Regulation

The O-Zone Hole

  • Andrew Abramczyk
  • November 15, 2019

State and national governments sometimes designate “Economic Opportunity Zones,” geographic areas wherein they give tax breaks to incentivize investment. If opportunity zones are such a great idea, though, why not…

Media

Read More: The O-Zone Hole

Healthcare

The Administrative Cost of Community Engagement Requirements in Medicaid

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • October 30, 2019

This is the first in a series of policy briefs looking at the common objections to implementing community engagement requirements, or work expectations, for healthy adults receiving benefits under Medicaid…

Fact Sheet

Read More: The Administrative Cost of Community Engagement Requirements in Medicaid

Taxes & Economy

The Not-So Secret Trick to Raise Kids out of Poverty

  • Andrew Cuff, Elizabeth Stelle
  • October 10, 2019

Innassa, a Pittsburgh native, was a stay-at-home mom for her two sons while her husband worked. Then, he got injured—and three surgeries later, still hasn’t recovered. “He’s talking and can…

Media

Read More: The Not-So Secret Trick to Raise Kids out of Poverty

Criminal Justice Reform

Rallying for Probation Reform

  • Jessica Barnett
  • September 27, 2019

Earlier this week, hundreds of activists gathered in the capitol in support of probation reform. Here’s what Pennsylvanians impacted by the probation system have to say: “I couldn’t…

Media

Read More: Rallying for Probation Reform

Healthcare

Sen. Martin Introduces Bill to Protect Safety Net

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • September 5, 2019

Steve Blazer of Surge Staffing is taking an unusual approach to filling hundreds of open warehouse positions: attending job fairs at state prisons. Steve’s struggle to find workers is…

Media

Read More: Sen. Martin Introduces Bill to Protect Safety Net

Criminal Justice Reform

School to Prison Pipeline? Here’s the Escape Valve

  • Marc LeBlond
  • August 21, 2019

Anthony Samuels is “the only male in my family that doesn’t have a record.” Rather, Anthony is a college graduate and a business owner. At an age when many…

Media

Read More: School to Prison Pipeline? Here’s the Escape Valve

Taxes & Economy

The Battle Over General Assistance and Our Poverty Problem

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • August 2, 2019

In 2012, lawmakers ended a small cash welfare program called General Assistance. Despite all the recent Democratic hubbub, none of the members actually tried to restart the program through the…

Media

Read More: The Battle Over General Assistance and Our Poverty Problem

Regulation

No More Food Stamps for Millionaires

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • July 31, 2019

Leroy Fick won $2 million playing the Michigan lottery. He bought a new home and a costly car, all while collecting taxpayer-funded food stamps. Fick and stories like his…

Media

Read More: No More Food Stamps for Millionaires

Criminal Justice Reform

School Choice on Behalf of Pa.’s Poorest Should Be a Bipartisan Issue

  • Colleen Hroncich
  • July 14, 2019

In Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and throughout the country, Republicans and Democrats have come together to pass smart criminal justice reforms that help people achieve independence and prosperity…

Media

Read More: School Choice on Behalf of Pa.’s Poorest Should Be a Bipartisan Issue

Criminal Justice Reform

Does Justice Reinvestment Work?

  • Jessica Barnett
  • July 1, 2019

One of the foremost, data-driven efforts in the nation to make criminal justice truly fair and effective is under consideration in the Pennsylvania House after a unanimous vote in the…

Media

Read More: Does Justice Reinvestment Work?

Criminal Justice Reform

Corrections Reform for Safer Communities

  • Jessica Barnett
  • June 11, 2019

Nowadays, Republicans and Democrats struggle to find common ground. In the rare moments when they do, you can be sure you’ve got a winning policy. Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate…

Media

Read More: Corrections Reform for Safer Communities

Criminal Justice Reform

Up, Up, and Away: Snapshots from Wolf’s Budget

  • May 21, 2019

Soon lawmakers in Harrisburg will begin debating the 2019-2020 budget and what to do with excess revenue from the booming economy. Here’s your two-minute summary of the budget situation and…

Media

Read More: Up, Up, and Away: Snapshots from Wolf’s Budget

Criminal Justice Reform

Should Pa. Wreck Lives Over a Technicality?

  • Jessica Barnett
  • May 16, 2019

Pennsylvania’s correctional system has a “revolving door” problem. Over 63 percent of the correctional population will return to prison within three years. To change Pennsylvania’s reputation as “imprisonment king”…

Media

Read More: Should Pa. Wreck Lives Over a Technicality?