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.”

Education

Helping Kids Through EITC and OSTC

  • Andrew Abramczyk, Nathan Benefield
  • June 12, 2019

Governor Tom Wolf wants to be sure that children from poor parts of the state can get a good education. In his 2018 budget address he called…

Media

Read More: Helping Kids Through EITC and OSTC

Public Union Democracy

Pa. Attorney General Agrees: Workers Should Know Their Rights

  • Jessica Barnett, Nathan Benefield
  • May 14, 2019

Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently demonstrated why Pennsylvania government workers need the Employee Rights Notification Act (House Bill 785 and Senate Bill 371). In a tweet, Shapiro…

Media

Read More: Pa. Attorney General Agrees: Workers Should Know Their Rights

Education

How Low-Income Students Benefit from Education Tax Credits

  • Lenny McAllister, Nathan Benefield
  • April 30, 2019

Yesterday, the House Education Committee advanced legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s successful tax credit scholarship program. HB 800, sponsored by Speaker Mike Turzai, would increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit…

Media

Read More: How Low-Income Students Benefit from Education Tax Credits

Taxes & Economy

Which Pa. Counties are Attracting Residents?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • April 22, 2019

How many people are moving into and out of Pennsylvania counties? New data on county population estimates released by the US Census Bureau last week answer that question. Much…

Media

Read More: Which Pa. Counties are Attracting Residents?

Criminal Justice Reform

Fighting Poverty can be a Bipartisan Effort

  • Nathan Benefield
  • April 12, 2019

Here's a letter I submitted to the Philadelphia Daily News on how Pennsylvanians of any ideology can share good intent, and work toward a common goal. I was disappointed…

Media

Read More: Fighting Poverty can be a Bipartisan Effort

Education

Expand Educational Choice with Tax Credit Scholarships

  • Nathan Benefield
  • April 8, 2019

In 2016-17, the most recent year with scholarship data available, 52,857 K-12 scholarship applications were denied—52 percent of all K-12 applications. Businesses have applied for $180 million in EITC and…

Fact Sheet

Read More: Expand Educational Choice with Tax Credit Scholarships

Public Union Democracy

HB 785: Transparency or Deception

  • Nathan Benefield
  • March 19, 2019

Yesterday, the House Labor Committee voted to advance HB 785, the Employee Rights Notification Act. Unfortunately, this innocuous proposal became a partisan issue, with the vote falling along party lines.

Media

Read More: HB 785: Transparency or Deception

Regulation

5 Facts on the Proposed Nuclear Power Bailout

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 20, 2019

Should Pennsylvanians pay more for electricity to benefit nuclear power companies? A group of lawmakers are proposing a new category to our renewable energy mandates known as the Alternative…

Media

Read More: 5 Facts on the Proposed Nuclear Power Bailout

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

Read More: 5 Takeaways from Gov. Wolf’s 2019 Budget

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”

Regulation

New Report Shows Shortcomings of Corporate Welfare

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 4, 2019

Pennsylvania moviegoers who bought tickets for M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass last weekend paid more than the price of the ticket. They paid with their taxes. According to the Department of…

Media

Read More: New Report Shows Shortcomings of Corporate Welfare

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

Criminal Justice Reform

The Next Step for Criminal Justice Reform

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 1, 2019

In an op-ed last week, CF’s president Charles Mitchell and former CF board chair Jane Janeczek offered an appraisal of the First Step Act signed by President Trump on…

Media

Read More: The Next Step for Criminal Justice Reform

Taxes & Economy

Residents are Still Leaving the Keystone State

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 21, 2018

Residents are fleeing Pennsylvania for other states, continuing a long and harmful trend. Pennsylvania’s population grew by a scant 0.13 percent last year, according to new Census Bureau estimates—but…

Media

Read More: Residents are Still Leaving the Keystone State

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

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

A Policy Feast to be Thankful For

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 21, 2018

If public policy was for Thanksgiving dinner, what should be on the menu? It’s an unusual question, but while I’m looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving meal, I’m also looking…

Media

Read More: A Policy Feast to be Thankful For

State Budget

IFO Projects $1.7 Billion State Budget Deficit in 2019

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 19, 2018

Last year’s state budget boasted a series of firsts. It was the first budget in four years enacted before the June 30 deadline and represents the only budget Gov.

Media

Read More: IFO Projects $1.7 Billion State Budget Deficit in 2019

Regulation

On Amazon and Unilaterally Disarming Corporate Welfare

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 13, 2018

Amazon just announced that instead of one “HQ 2”, they will chose two new facilities—neither of which will be in Pennsylvania, instead choosing New York and Virginia. This shouldn’t…

Media

Read More: On Amazon and Unilaterally Disarming Corporate Welfare