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. Pennsylvanians deserve reforms that bring true transparency to the budgeting process. We must limit spending growth to a sustainable rate, ensuring the state government—like hardworking taxpayers—live within its means.

State Budget

Federal Tax Reform: A Pennsylvania Gold Rush

  • Tirzah Duren
  • May 23, 2019

After centuries of hopeless panning and prospecting, gold has finally been discovered right here in Harrisburg. The historic find weighs in…

Media

Read More: Federal Tax Reform: A Pennsylvania Gold Rush

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

State Budget

Failure to Save Now Means Tax Hikes Later

  • Tirzah Duren
  • May 7, 2019

Anyone who’s had to pinch a few pennies knows this to be true: Failure to save in good years means you’re not prepared for the bad ones. This is a…

Media

Read More: Failure to Save Now Means Tax Hikes Later

Criminal Justice Reform

Four Ways Lawmakers Are Setting Up Pa. For Success

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • May 3, 2019

Freedom and opportunity are on the move in the Keystone State. In the past week, lawmakers have taken four serious strides for the families and business owners of Pennsylvania. We’re…

Media

Read More: Four Ways Lawmakers Are Setting Up Pa. For Success

State Budget

Tax Reforms Not Football Will Keep People in Pa.

  • May 1, 2019

The Steelers may not be the most recent Pennsylvania team to win a Super Bowl, but that doesn’t stop them from having the second highest out-of-state fan base. The…

Media

Read More: Tax Reforms Not Football Will Keep People in Pa.

State Budget

Protecting Pa.’s Future: The Taxpayer Protection Act

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • April 30, 2019

Pennsylvanians currently owe more than $128 billion in state and local debt—an astounding $10,015 for every man, woman, and child. Yet, our state government is raking in more revenue from…

Media

Read More: Protecting Pa.’s Future: The Taxpayer Protection Act

Criminal Justice Reform

Moving Toward Efficient, Effective Criminal Justice

  • Jessica Barnett
  • April 22, 2019

The economy is growing, but Pennsylvania just keeps sinking deeper into debt. Since 1970, we’ve tripled our overall operating budget—but our population has grown only 8 percent. Even adjusting for…

Media

Read More: Moving Toward Efficient, Effective Criminal Justice

Education

Gov. Wolf Blinded to Benefits of School Choice

  • Colleen Hroncich
  • April 16, 2019

Gov. Wolf’s 2019 budget promotes public and private options for pre-K and post-secondary education. He calls Pennsylvania’s post-secondary institutions “laboratories for innovation.” Most remarkably, the governor touts Pennsylvania Higher…

Media

Read More: Gov. Wolf Blinded to Benefits of School Choice

State Budget

It’s Time to Tackle Debt

  • Colleen Hroncich
  • April 5, 2019

An ostrich burying its head in the sand is a classic analogy for avoiding difficult decisions. Though this is a mischaracterization—their heads are buried to protect their eggs from predators—the metaphor…

Media

Read More: It’s Time to Tackle Debt

State Budget

Rein in Spending, So Pa.’s Economy Can Race

  • Colleen Hroncich
  • March 1, 2019

My daughter recently started horseback riding lessons. She’s learning how to hold the reins with enough give for the horse to move but tight enough that the horse follows her directions. Like…

Media

Read More: Rein in Spending, So Pa.’s Economy Can Race

State Budget

The Taxpayer Protection Act: An Updated Legislator’s Guide

  • February 14, 2019

Pennsylvanians pay $4,589 per person in state and local taxes, which equals 10.2 percent of residents’ total income. This trend must be reversed by restraining spending growth through long-term reforms…

Fact Sheet

Read More: The Taxpayer Protection Act: An Updated Legislator’s Guide

State Budget

Wolf’s Budget Rhetoric a Relief, but Doesn’t Match Reality

  • February 5, 2019

Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Wolf’s fifth budget address: What a change four years and nine defeated…

Press Release

Read More: Wolf’s Budget Rhetoric a Relief, but Doesn’t Match Reality

State Budget

5 Takeaways from Gov. Wolf’s 2019 Budget

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 5, 2019

1. Dramatic cost overruns lead to a $86 billion budget.  Gov. Wolf proposed a $34.146 billion General Fund budget and a total operating budget of $85.804 billion.

Media

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Public Union Democracy

Why There’s “Money in Politics”

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 4, 2019

The recent public corruption indictment of John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, leader of the IBEW 98 labor union, Philadelphia City Council member Bobby Henon, and a slew of other IBEW leaders shows…

Media

Read More: Why There’s “Money in Politics”

State Budget

Five Ways to Promote Prosperity & Grow the Economy

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • January 30, 2019

Revenue collections are $400 million above projections. Next year’s budget should be easy to balance. Instead, lawmakers are looking at a projected $1.7 billion deficit. Why? Pennsylvania continues…

Memo

Read More: Five Ways to Promote Prosperity & Grow the Economy

Criminal Justice Reform

Pennsylvania State Budget Trends

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 22, 2019

On February 5, Governor Wolf will lay out his proposal for the 2019-20 state budget. Here are some key facts on spending trends, last year’s enacted budget, and challenges going…

Fact Sheet

Read More: Pennsylvania State Budget Trends

Regulation

How Big is the Pa. State Budget? 17 Million Yoga Rooms

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 22, 2019

Much has been made about a yoga and meditation room in the state Capitol—costing taxpayers about $5,000 to furnish. With an annual state budget that could pay for…

Media

Read More: How Big is the Pa. State Budget? 17 Million Yoga Rooms

State Budget

Budget Outlook: Restrained Spending Growth

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 12, 2018

On Tuesday, Budget Secretary Randy Albright gave the mid-year budget briefing (slides available here) for the 2018-19 budget. If you’re expecting a repeat of the Wolf Administration’s tax-and-spend rhetoric…

Media

Read More: Budget Outlook: Restrained Spending Growth

Regulation

Our Christmas Wish: A Solvent Pennsylvania

  • Gordon Tomb
  • December 4, 2018

“I’m dreaming of a solvent Penn’s Woods/Just like the one we used to know.” Lyrics not worthy of Bing Crosby, but still music to the ears of a…

Media

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Healthcare

Welfare Program Restarts with No Proof of Poverty Alleviation & No Budget

  • Elizabeth Stelle
  • December 3, 2018

After a six-year hiatus, Pennsylvania's General Assistance program is back in operation…without a budget. The Wolf administration's unilateral decision to resurrect a program, without identifying a funding source, is symbolic…

Media

Read More: Welfare Program Restarts with No Proof of Poverty Alleviation & No Budget

Regulation

Turnpike Toll Hikes Highlight Missed Opportunities

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Nathan Benefield
  • November 30, 2018

There are three things Pennsylvanians have learned to count on: death, taxes, and Turnpike toll hikes. On January 6th, the state toll road will increase rates by another 6…

Media

Read More: Turnpike Toll Hikes Highlight Missed Opportunities