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.

2024 state budget resources

State Budget

Soda Taxes Target the Poor

  • Tirzah Duren
  • October 4, 2019

Soda may not be on the list of Seven Deadly Sins but try telling that to lawmakers in Philadelphia. On January 1, 2017, the city instituted a tax of 1.5…

Media

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Regulation

Mimosa Monopoly

  • Tirzah Duren
  • October 2, 2019

Pennsylvania is waging a secret war on millennials. Okay, maybe not on millennials, but definitely on brunch, and that’s pretty much the same thing. The deleterious effect of Pennsylvania’s sky-high…

Media

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State Budget

How to Improve State Budgeting Practices

  • Andrew Abramczyk
  • October 1, 2019

The following testimony was given at the Pennsylvania Fiscal and Economic Summit at York College on August 22, 2019. Thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning on…

Testimony

Read More: How to Improve State Budgeting Practices

State Budget

The Taxpayer Protection Act Is Commonsense

  • Tirzah Duren
  • August 21, 2019

For over a decade, various lawmakers have introduced Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA) legislation to get a handle on Pennsylvania’s out of control budget. This overspending hurts our economy, drives away…

Media

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State Budget

Slicing Pennsylvania’s Finances, Part 1

  • Andrew Abramczyk
  • August 21, 2019

Pennsylvania's largest budget items are growing unsustainably fast. The budget can only be brought under control only if these cost drivers are addressed.

Fact Sheet

Read More: Slicing Pennsylvania’s Finances, Part 1

State Budget

A $673 Million Mistake…Isn’t a Mistake

  • Andrew Abramczyk
  • August 5, 2019

In June, when the state legislature passed the budget, they included something extra: a $673 million “supplemental appropriation” to cover overspending in the previous fiscal year. In other words, the Wolf…

Media

Read More: A $673 Million Mistake…Isn’t a Mistake

State Budget

Pennsylvania is NOT Taking Care of Business

  • July 24, 2019

Pennsylvania is the 5th worst state to start a business, according to a new study by Wallethub. Only Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island fare worse. Then,…

Media

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State Budget

Applause for ‘Mature’ Debt Reform, but More Needed

  • Andrew Abramczyk
  • July 15, 2019

Good policy isn’t always controversial. House Bill 24, which was signed into law on July 2, caused no floor theatrics, mass tweeting, or activist howls. The bill, proposed by Rep. John Lawrence…

Media

Read More: Applause for ‘Mature’ Debt Reform, but More Needed

Government Accountability

Budget Earmarks: Sneaky and Unconstitutional

  • Andrew Abramczyk, Jessica Barnett
  • July 12, 2019

A wise buyer should always read the fine print, but it isn’t easy. Documents like cell phone contracts and software user agreements can be hard to read, often by design. The dense language…

Media

Read More: Budget Earmarks: Sneaky and Unconstitutional

Education

Getting Real About Education Spending

  • Colleen Hroncich
  • July 8, 2019

Another budget season has come and gone in Harrisburg.  As usual, education spending was one of the hottest topics. Constant demands for “more money” by teachers’ unions and their…

Media

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State Budget

This Year’s Budget Continues Past Trends

  • Tirzah Duren
  • June 28, 2019

The 2019-2020 budget spending bill is on the governor’s desk and lawmakers are claiming it represents an increase of only 1.8 percent over last year. If this were true, it would…

Media

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State Budget

State Can Build on Tax Reform Boom

  • Tirzah Duren
  • June 27, 2019

To attract the investment and job creators that will secure our future, we can—and must—do better. Luckily, lawmakers have the blueprint they need to make our state competitive: Control spending…

Commentary

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Education

Common EITC and OSTC Misconceptions

  • Colleen Hroncich
  • June 26, 2019

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” This saying is even more true in the internet age. Case in point: recent falsehoods…

Media

Read More: Common EITC and OSTC Misconceptions

Education

Five Things Lawmakers Should Know About the State Budget Deal

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 25, 2019

Less than a week before the start of the 2019-20 fiscal year, legislative leaders unveiled a proposed state budget—including both the spending and revenue outline, and several policy changes that…

Media

Read More: Five Things Lawmakers Should Know About the State Budget Deal

State Budget

Future Growth Depends on Today’s Lawmakers

  • Tirzah Duren
  • June 20, 2019

Federal tax cuts made Pennsylvania’s current economic growth possible, but state reform could make it sustainable. Today Pennsylvanians are enjoying $866 million in surplus state revenue, an all-time low unemployment rate,…

Media

Read More: Future Growth Depends on Today’s Lawmakers

State Budget

Lawmakers Show Signs of Budget Restraint

  • Tirzah Duren
  • June 18, 2019

When state revenues outpace spending there’s always a temptation to spend more—in fact, even when revenues fall short…

Media

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Education

Fiscal Forgetfulness

  • Andrew Abramczyk
  • June 12, 2019

Next year the governor wants to spend $1.4 billion more than he requested for this year, according to his recent budget proposal. Separately he’ll need as much as $750 million…

Media

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Government Accountability

The Shadow Budget Comes to Light

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Tirzah Duren
  • June 6, 2019

The shadow budget is coming into the light in an unlikely way this…

Media

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State Budget

Making Bad Investments Won’t Restore PA

  • Tirzah Duren
  • June 3, 2019

Governor Wolf’s Restore PA plan utilizes a natural gas severance tax and borrowing to fund infrastructure improvements. There’s a better way to improve our infrastructure.

Memo

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State Budget

Harrisburg’s Notoriously Big Choice

  • Tirzah Duren
  • June 3, 2019

“More money, more problems.” It seems that Pennsylvania lawmakers and The Notorious B.I.G. may have found some common ground. Surplus revenues have been a hot topic since the Independent Fiscal…

Media

Read More: Harrisburg’s Notoriously Big Choice