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.”

Op-Ed: Now is the time to rebuild Pennsylvania

  • Nathan Benefield
  • September 28, 2020

By passing these ambitious, though necessary, reforms to help Pennsylvania rebuild its economy, lawmakers can start bridging the gap between what the people need and what government is focused on.

Commentary

Read More: Op-Ed: Now is the time to rebuild Pennsylvania

While Nobody was looking, Harrisburg quietly spent $26 billion

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 13, 2020

Government institutions have gotten more than their fair share. Now it’s time to support parents who paid out-of-pocket for several months for their children’s education, on top of the tax…

Commentary

Read More: While Nobody was looking, Harrisburg quietly spent $26 billion

A Responsible State Budget? Only in Your Dreams

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 27, 2020

We can spend our money smarter through sound policy, and we can make hard budgeting decisions easier for lawmakers by placing real limits on spending.

Commentary

Read More: A Responsible State Budget? Only in Your Dreams

Healthcare

Questions for Gov. Wolf

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 15, 2020

Gov. Wolf is proposing additional restrictions on businesses across Pennsylvania because of a rise in the number of new COVID cases.  Here is a list of questions for Gov.

Commentary

Read More: Questions for Gov. Wolf

Government Accountability

Pa?s unemployment rate down in May, but still at near-record levels

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 22, 2020

More than 13% of Pennsylvania workers were officially unemployed in May, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released Friday. That’s an improvement from April’s record-setting 15.1% unemployment rate, but still the second highest rate…

Media

Read More: Pa?s unemployment rate down in May, but still at near-record levels

Pa. Legislature Votes to End Gov. Wolf’s COVID Disaster Declaration

  • Michael Torres, Nathan Benefield
  • June 9, 2020

June 9, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa. — Today, the Pa. Legislature passed a resolution (HR 836) to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 disaster declaration with bi-partisan majorities in both chambers.

Press Release

Read More: Pa. Legislature Votes to End Gov. Wolf’s COVID Disaster Declaration

Government Accountability

Op-ed: Pennsylvanians Deserve an Apology

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 4, 2020

Gov. Wolf called local officials, job creators, and workers “cowards” and “deserters” for assessing local risks and daring to think for themselves.

Commentary

Read More: Op-ed: Pennsylvanians Deserve an Apology

Government Accountability

Solutions to Preventing Tax Increases in 2021

  • Nathan Benefield
  • May 26, 2020

Lawmakers can respect the Pennsylvania constitution’s balanced budget amendment and act to prevent tax increases that will drive more families and businesses out of the state, further shrinking the revenue…

Memo

Read More: Solutions to Preventing Tax Increases in 2021

Healthcare

How Bad are April’s Unemployment Numbers for Pa?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • May 22, 2020

More than 15% of Pennsylvania workers were unemployed—the highest level on record—according to U.S. Department of Labor data released today. More than 1.1 million payroll jobs were lost since February,…

Media

Read More: How Bad are April’s Unemployment Numbers for Pa?

Taxes & Economy

Wolf Does What Lawmakers Want Him to Do, Just Slower

  • Nathan Benefield
  • May 19, 2020

The reality is this: when Wolf vetoes a bill, he often follows his veto with similar executive action later, taking credit for the changes. This has been true since he…

Commentary

Read More: Wolf Does What Lawmakers Want Him to Do, Just Slower

Government Accountability

Op-ed: Protect lives by preserving livelihoods

  • Nathan Benefield
  • May 6, 2020

Wolf should take state lawmakers’ advice and bring transparency and fairness to Pennsylvania’s reopening — along with a sense of urgency. In doing so, he can continue flattening the curve…

Commentary

Read More: Op-ed: Protect lives by preserving livelihoods

Op-Ed: State Lawmakers Must Act Now to Mitigate Crisis

  • Nathan Benefield
  • April 9, 2020

In this time of uncertainty, lawmakers must not be passive. Instead, they should advance their own solutions to the problems developing in their districts and among their constituents. …

Commentary

Read More: Op-Ed: State Lawmakers Must Act Now to Mitigate Crisis

Healthcare

Wolf’s Business Shutdown is Broken, Here’s How to Fix It

  • Nathan Benefield
  • April 6, 2020

Gov. Wolf’s shutdown of “non-life-essential" businesses has caused more than 1.1 million Pennsylvania workers to lose their jobs in the last three weeks alone. This unprecedented loss of income is…

Commentary

Read More: Wolf’s Business Shutdown is Broken, Here’s How to Fix It

Government Accountability

Lawmakers Send Message to Wolf on Eve of Budget Address

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 3, 2020

February 3, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa. — Today, on the eve of Gov. Wolf’s sixth state budget address, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a much-needed fiscal reform called the…

Press Release

Read More: Lawmakers Send Message to Wolf on Eve of Budget Address

Taxes & Economy

Pennsylvania Loses 54 People Every Day

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 30, 2020

How long before Pennsylvania becomes one big ghost town? New Census data shows that Pennsylvania lost a net of 19,588 residents to other states in 2019—that’s a loss of 54 people…

Commentary

Read More: Pennsylvania Loses 54 People Every Day

Economic Growth Boosts Prosperity, not Minimum Wage Hikes

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 20, 2019

November 20, 2019, Harrisburg, Pa. — Today, the Pennsylvania Senate passed legislation to hike the commonwealth’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.50 per hour by 2022. Commonwealth Foundation Vice…

Press Release

Read More: Economic Growth Boosts Prosperity, not Minimum Wage Hikes

Education

Statement: Gov. Wolf’s Charter Accountability Plan

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 13, 2019

Today, Governor Tom Wolf will unveil his plans to alter accountability mechanisms for Pennsylvania's charter schools. However, Gov. Wolf's strategy is not as much about accountability as it is his administration's attempt…

Press Release

Read More: Statement: Gov. Wolf’s Charter Accountability Plan

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