Government Debt

Recent Issues

Tracking State Budget Trends


The 2016-17 General Fund budget added to Pennsylvania’s fiscal challenges. Lawmakers approved the $31.6 billion budget without implementing meaningful reforms or authorizing enough revenue to balance the budget. Despite lacking solid revenue sources, the legislature increased spending by $1.6 billion—a sum vastly exceeding the combined growth rate of inflation and population.

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Pennsylvania Deficit Watch

New IFO Report Emphasizes Need to Reform Spending


Yesterday’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) mid-year report warned Pennsylvania could face a $900 million budget shortfall this year alone. By 2022, this deficit could reach $3 billion per year.

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Pennsylvania State Budget

Pennsylvania State Budget Toolkit


The enacted $29 billion General Fund budget (a 1.88 percent increase over 2013-2014) and $71.4 billion total operating budget represent Pennsylvania’s highest spending levels ever—exceeding years when federal stimulus dollars were used to balance the budget.

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Recent Blog Posts

It Won't Get Easier: Our Take on the State's Five Year Outlook

Last week the Independent Fiscal Office presented its latest five year projections. They describe a government habitually unable to balance its books, even in today's strong economy.

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Pennsylvania Needs the Ramsey Method

High debt, reckless spending, and impending financial ruin. That description fits both Pennsylvania and budget guru Dave Ramsey’s life before he achieved financial stability. The real lesson the Ramsey’s methods—and Ramsey’s—life teaches us is that no matter the current situation there is hope for a better financial future. 

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Good Returns Won't Close the Gap

The state pension funds are so badly underfunded that their rates of return hardly even matter.  To close the gap the funds would have to nearly double their assets, which is effectively impossible. Reform is the only way forward.

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