Nathan Benefield

Nathan Benefield

Senior Vice President

Nathan (Nate) Benefield is the Senior Vice President at the Commonwealth Foundation.

An Ohio native, Nate holds an undergraduate degree in political science and economics and a master’s degree in public service management from DePaul University in Chicago. He also completed his doctoral studies (ABD) in political science at Loyola University, also in Chicago.

Nate joined the Commonwealth Foundation in 2005. Now as senior vice president, he provides strategic leadership as well as operational oversight spanning policy analysis, government relations, marketing, and communications.

Nate has researched and written extensively on public policy issues including the state budget, public sector labor reform, government spending and taxes, liquor privatization, education, and economic development. Under Nate’s policy leadership, the Commonwealth Foundation’s work on public sector pension law helped drive the bipartisan pension reform of 2017, heralded by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post as an example for other states to follow.

Nate has testified numerous times before state legislative committees and is often called upon by legislators and members of the media to provide expertise. He is a frequent commentator on both television and radio, and his writings have appeared across the state and nationally in outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Patriot-News, and Weekly Standard.

Nate’s favorite rock song and personal motto are both “Don’t Stop Believin.”

State Budget

Despite Name-Calling, Wolf’s Tax Hike is the Largest

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 22, 2016

The Wolf administration continues to deny basic facts about their original proposed tax hike. Instead of responding with facts, the governor's staff relies on name-calling and personal attacks. The Altoona Mirror…

Media

Read More: Despite Name-Calling, Wolf’s Tax Hike is the Largest

Criminal Justice Reform

2012 Corrections Reform Still Paying Off

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 20, 2016

Yesterday, Gov. Wolf and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel announced that Pennsylvania’s prison population declined last year by the largest amount since 1971. The number of imates declined by…

Media

Read More: 2012 Corrections Reform Still Paying Off

State Budget

Fiscal Code Protects Kids and Jobs

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Nathan Benefield
  • January 12, 2016

Today, the Pennsylvania House passed a revised fiscal code, HB 1327, to implement parts of the state budget. The fiscal code explains how revenues will be distributed, including transfers…

Media

Read More: Fiscal Code Protects Kids and Jobs

State Budget

Budget Hostages Finally Freed?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 11, 2016

While Wolf released the hostages of the past six months, he made sure he could keep using children as “pressure points” by using his line-item veto to cut $3.1 billion…

Commentary

Read More: Budget Hostages Finally Freed?

Public Union Democracy

Union Dues Fund New Political Attack Ads

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 5, 2016

America Works USA launched a new round of political attack ads opposing the latest state budget. These highly misleading ads again talk about “cuts to education.” However, the…

Media

Read More: Union Dues Fund New Political Attack Ads

Regulation

Is Gov. Wolf Ignoring Credit Rating Agencies?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 4, 2016

Last week, Gov. Wolf once again resorted to defending his latest budget vetoes citing the fear of credit rating downgrades. Oddly, he seems to miss that pension reform and…

Media

Read More: Is Gov. Wolf Ignoring Credit Rating Agencies?

State Budget

Wolf Signs Stop-Gap Budget With Punitive Line-Item Vetoes

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 29, 2015

This morning, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the state budget on his desk, using his line-item veto (and item-reduction veto) power to cut the spending by more than $6 billion, targeting certain…

Media

Read More: Wolf Signs Stop-Gap Budget With Punitive Line-Item Vetoes

Education

Wolf Misleads About Education “Cuts”

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 29, 2015

On Christmas Eve, Gov. Tom Wolf posted a blog attacking Republicans and the “extremist” budget now sitting on his desk—which passed the Senate on a bipartisan 33-17 vote. Wolf…

Media

Read More: Wolf Misleads About Education “Cuts”

State Budget

Senate Passes Budget, Sends to Governor

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 23, 2015

Things have changed quickly in the Capitol this week. On Monday, we wrote about a potential House vote on an emergency funding bill. That plan was scrapped. Yesterday, we talked…

Media

Read More: Senate Passes Budget, Sends to Governor

State Budget

Framework Dead, Time for a No-Tax Hike Spending Plan

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 21, 2015

Despite legislative action this past weekend, a “framework budget” and a looming vote to raise taxes now appear to be off the table. The next step must be to pass…

Media

Read More: Framework Dead, Time for a No-Tax Hike Spending Plan

State Budget

Santa Claus Budgeting

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 21, 2015

With Christmas fast approaching, children are busy creating wish lists for Santa Claus. While most kids eventually outgrow a belief in Santa — and realize it’s their family buying their…

Commentary

Read More: Santa Claus Budgeting

State Budget

Spending Increases in the “Framework Budget”

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 15, 2015

As pointed out yesterday, one of the six sticky items in the Pennsylvania budget negotiations is how much taxpayer money to spend. The $30.788 billion “framework budget” passed by…

Media

Read More: Spending Increases in the “Framework Budget”

State Budget

Six Unresolved Issues in PA Budget

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 14, 2015

The PA House is back in session this week, “sorting through hundreds of pages of legislation” related to the state budget. As Bob points out, while passing a…

Media

Read More: Six Unresolved Issues in PA Budget

Regulation

With Details, Wolf Budget “Framework” Looks Even Worse

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 7, 2015

Now that the Pennsylvania Senate has begun passing legislation, taxpayers can finally see what’s in Gov. Wolf’s “framework” for a new budget. Based on the passage of SB 1073 and…

Media

Read More: With Details, Wolf Budget “Framework” Looks Even Worse

State Budget

Do New Budget Plans Protect Taxpayers?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 7, 2015

Details of a proposed budget “framework” are slowly emerging. The Senate has advanced a General Fund spending plan, which seems to have Gov. Wolf’s support, of about $30.79…

Media

Read More: Do New Budget Plans Protect Taxpayers?

State Budget

A Brief History of Wolf’s Tax Hikes

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 6, 2015

Yesterday, the State House of Representatives announced they were moving off the latest Wolf tax hike proposal and onto a new plan that called for less spending and fewer…

Media

Read More: A Brief History of Wolf’s Tax Hikes

State Budget

Wolf’s “Pressure” Causes Real Pain

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Nathan Benefield
  • December 2, 2015

After five months without a state budget, three failed tax hike plans, and two vetoed stop-gap plans, Gov. Wolf refuses to abandon his harmful strategy of holding children, abuse victims,…

Media

Read More: Wolf’s “Pressure” Causes Real Pain

State Budget

Yet Another Tax Hike Proposal

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 30, 2015

Details are slowly emerging about a potential fifth tax hike proposal in state budget negotiations. This comes after Gov. Wolf’s most recent plan to raise the state sales tax…

Media

Read More: Yet Another Tax Hike Proposal

State Budget

No One Wants Higher Taxes

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 24, 2015

The latest reports out of the state Capitol suggest that including a sales tax increase in the budget framework—which we addressed earlier—is off the table. Turns out, lawmakers weren’t too keen on…

Media

Read More: No One Wants Higher Taxes

Education

Tax Shifts and Education Spending

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 18, 2015

As proposals to reduce, reform, or (mostly) eliminate school property taxes continue to be debated in Harrisburg, many readers have asked about our position on a dollar-for-dollar tax shift,…

Media

Read More: Tax Shifts and Education Spending

Regulation

How is Property Tax Relief Doled Out?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 17, 2015

Among the many questions in a tentative state budget deal is how revenue from the sales tax increase would be distributed. The Associated Press notes this will be…

Media

Read More: How is Property Tax Relief Doled Out?