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.”

Criminal Justice Reform

Spending Trends & Policy Developments Under Gov. Wolf

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 31, 2018

In the last four years Pennsylvania has experienced rapid state spending growth. On the plus side, constant tax hike proposals have been largely rejected and policies like pension reform, school…

Memo

Read More: Spending Trends & Policy Developments Under Gov. Wolf

Education

Students Win Big with Tax Credit Scholarship Boost

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 26, 2018

The recently enacted state budget includes a $25 million increase in the successful and popular Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. This increase is tremendous for families—given that…

Media

Read More: Students Win Big with Tax Credit Scholarship Boost

Education

EITC In Context

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 14, 2018

Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) provide tax credit scholarships to low and moderate-income students. These scholarships are lifelines for tens of…

Media

Read More: EITC In Context

Regulation

Government Job Creation is a Myth

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 12, 2018

Can government create jobs? If you ask Gov. Tom Wolf, you won’t get a straight answer. On the one hand, Wolf promised Amazon millions—likely billions—in taxpayer subsidies to build a…

Media

Read More: Government Job Creation is a Myth

Ignore Scare Tactics; ESAs Would Benefit All Students

  • Nathan Benefield
  • May 24, 2018

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee advanced Senate Bill 2, which would create Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for students in the lowest performing 15 percent of public schools. ESAs…

Media

Read More: Ignore Scare Tactics; ESAs Would Benefit All Students

Education

Time to Let Fair Funding Work

  • Nathan Benefield
  • May 18, 2018

A recent Philadelphia Inquirer editorial on school funding gets it partly right, but partly wrong. They challenge the fact that Pennsylvania spends $3,800 more per student than the national…

Media

Read More: Time to Let Fair Funding Work

Government Accountability

Wolf’s “Citizens First” Reforms Won’t Solve Many Problems

  • Nathan Benefield
  • March 12, 2018

Today, Gov. Wolf  introduced a slew of “government reforms” to tackle Pennsylvania’s corruption problem. Here is our quick take on each. Gift Ban In theory, this seems like a…

Media

Read More: Wolf’s “Citizens First” Reforms Won’t Solve Many Problems

State Budget

Five Things to Know about Gov. Wolf’s Proposed Budget

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 6, 2018

On February 6, Governor Wolf laid out his plan for the 2018-19 Pennsylvania state budget. Here are the five things you need to know: 1) Spending Increase Exceeds Taxpayer Protection Act…

Media

Read More: Five Things to Know about Gov. Wolf’s Proposed Budget

Taxes & Economy

PA Companies Raise Starting Wages After Tax Reform

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 6, 2018

Since the passage of federal tax reform, more than 300 companies have announced bonuses, raises, and new investments. This includes some major national companies, like Disney,…

Media

Read More: PA Companies Raise Starting Wages After Tax Reform

Education

PA Schools Spend Far Above National Average

  • Nathan Benefield
  • February 5, 2018

Pennsylvania ranks 9th in the country for per-student funding of public schools. School districts in the commonwealth receive, overall, $3,700 more per student than the national average. This data comes…

Media

Read More: PA Schools Spend Far Above National Average

Taxes & Economy

Residents Still Moving out of PA, So Will Congressional Districts

  • Nathan Benefield
  • January 23, 2018

Overlooked in yesterday’s news about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordering a new Congressional district map was the fact that—regardless of the outcome of that case—Pennsylvania will likely lose a congressional…

Media

Read More: Residents Still Moving out of PA, So Will Congressional Districts

Taxes & Economy

PA Taxpayers Are Moving to Almost Every Other State

  • Nathan Benefield
  • December 1, 2017

Where are Pennsylvanians moving? Turns out, 44 states gained taxpayers from Pennsylvania last year. New data released yesterday by the IRS on state-to-state migration showed Pennsylvania gained residents moving from New…

Media

Read More: PA Taxpayers Are Moving to Almost Every Other State

Liquor Store Loan? Don’t Bank on It

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 9, 2017

Have your trips to the liquor store been leaving your wallet a little lighter? That’s because the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the agency behind our state-run liquor system, recently raised…

Commentary

Read More: Liquor Store Loan? Don’t Bank on It

Taxes & Economy

Wolf Tax Reform Hypocrisy

  • Nathan Benefield
  • November 2, 2017

Gov. Wolf has criticized recent federal tax reform proposals—which would lower most tax rates and simplify the tax code by reducing loopholes—because it would eliminate the state and local…

Media

Read More: Wolf Tax Reform Hypocrisy

Healthcare

Obamacare Creates Another Round of Premium Hikes

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Nathan Benefield
  • October 18, 2017

Governor Wolf announced exchange insurance premiums will increase by 30 percent next year thanks to President Trump and Congress. The problem is insurance rates have increased every year under…

Media

Read More: Obamacare Creates Another Round of Premium Hikes

Regulation

How Should Pennsylvania Attract Amazon?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • October 17, 2017

Amazon has been dominating Pennsylvania business news since announcing its interest in creating a second U.S. headquarters (HQ2). Several regions of the state are expected to contend for this new…

Media

Read More: How Should Pennsylvania Attract Amazon?

Regulation

Liquor Store Loan? Don’t Bank on It

  • Nathan Benefield
  • October 16, 2017

Gov. Wolf’s plan to borrow more than $1 billion against PLCB revenue to balance the budget makes little sense. Under Wolf’s plan to “monetize” our liquor system, the state’s General…

Commentary

Read More: Liquor Store Loan? Don’t Bank on It

State Budget

Four Alternatives to the Warehouse Tax

  • Elizabeth Stelle, Nathan Benefield
  • October 3, 2017

The latest tax proposal to balance the $2.2 billion budget shortfall is receiving a cool reception. The tax hike under consideration would extend the sales tax to commercial warehouses. The…

Media

Read More: Four Alternatives to the Warehouse Tax

State Budget

What’s Next for the 2017-18 Budget?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • September 28, 2017

What does the Senate's vote to non-concur mean? How does a conference committee work? How does the credit downgrade affect the budget? Negotiations over the 2017-18 budget have raised interesting…

Memo

Read More: What’s Next for the 2017-18 Budget?