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.”

Follow Our Lead

  • Nathan Benefield
  • September 25, 2017

Those seeking a return to fiscal sanity should take heart: Significant reforms are advancing at the state level that could spur a bottom-up course correction across the country—and Pennsylvania is…

Commentary

Read More: Follow Our Lead

Regulation

We’ll Take Taxpayers’ $17 Million Subsidy & Move to China, Suckers

  • Nathan Benefield
  • September 20, 2017

The Tribune Review reports that another Pennsylvania company is moving to China. A company that built saltwater-based battery systems at the former Sony Corp. plant near New Stanton will move to…

Media

Read More: We’ll Take Taxpayers’ $17 Million Subsidy & Move to China, Suckers

State Budget

More Budget Scare Tactics

  • Nathan Benefield
  • September 18, 2017

Gov. Wolf announced on Friday that he will delay $1.7 billion in payments to Medicaid providers (for a week) and to the public school employees' pension fund. The governor cited the General…

Media

Read More: More Budget Scare Tactics

State Budget

The Numbers behind the Shadow Budget

  • Nathan Benefield
  • September 6, 2017

Yesterday, a group of House Republicans unveiled a proposal to balance the state budget without borrowing or major tax increases. The crux of the plan relies on the use of $1.3…

Media

Read More: The Numbers behind the Shadow Budget

State Budget

Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Irresponsibility Bears Repeating

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 31, 2017

A critic, responding to my op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, opines that I am repeating the “mantra” that lawmakers should control the growth of spending and avoid job-killing tax…

Media

Read More: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Irresponsibility Bears Repeating

State Budget

Treasurer Playing Chicken with State Budget

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 30, 2017

In a news interview yesterday, State Treasurer Joe Torsella threatened that he won’t allow the state to borrow any more money to pay bills, unless the budget is balanced.

Media

Read More: Treasurer Playing Chicken with State Budget

State Government Continues to Grow

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 25, 2017

As I pointed out last week, the total operating budget for Pennsylvania exceeds $80 billion. In addition to the $32 billion General Fund, the $49 billion “shadow budget” includes $28.7 billion…

Media

Read More: State Government Continues to Grow

State Budget

Can Other Funds Help Balance the State Budget?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 16, 2017

The total operating budget for the state exceeds $80 billion. In addition to the $32 billion General Fund, the “shadow budget” includes: $28.7 billion in federal funds, $4.7 billion in…

Media

Read More: Can Other Funds Help Balance the State Budget?

State Budget

State Borrowing the Result of Overspending

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 4, 2017

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania State Treasurer and Auditor General approved a short term “STIP” loan to cover cash flow. For reference, you can see the GF balance on the…

Media

Read More: State Borrowing the Result of Overspending

Healthcare

Higher Liquor Prices Just the Latest Hit to Pennsylvania Families

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 4, 2017

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced it would be arbitrarily raising prices on 422 wine and liquor products. This increase is a result of the “liquor modernization” efforts—which have…

Media

Read More: Higher Liquor Prices Just the Latest Hit to Pennsylvania Families

State Budget

Is State Spending “Cut to the Bone”?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 3, 2017

One of the justifications Gov. Wolf uses to raise taxes—for the fifth time in nine years—is that state government spending has been relatively restrained. This argument suggests that other…

Media

Read More: Is State Spending “Cut to the Bone”?

State Budget

Cost of Proposed Tax Hikes: 3,600 Jobs Lost

  • Nathan Benefield
  • August 2, 2017

The tax hikes included in the revenue plan passed by the Senate (26-24) and supported by Gov. Wolf amount to nearly $600 million in total new taxes for next…

Testimony

Read More: Cost of Proposed Tax Hikes: 3,600 Jobs Lost

Tax Hikes Won’t Fix Deficit, Reforms Will

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 26, 2017

Tax hikes won’t fix the structural deficit. We just raised taxes last year, having a devastating impact on vape shops, and have raised taxes four times in the last…

Media

Read More: Tax Hikes Won’t Fix Deficit, Reforms Will

State Budget

Op-Ed: Should Pennsylvanians Pay More for The Walking Dead?

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 24, 2017

Thanks to last year’s state budget, you’re paying more to watch House of Cards. This year, The Walking Dead—and a host of other cable TV shows—could cost you more, too. …

Commentary

Read More: Op-Ed: Should Pennsylvanians Pay More for The Walking Dead?

Here’s How a Tax-Increasing Budget Destroys Jobs

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 14, 2017

Gov. Tom Wolf, some Harrisburg lawmakers, and government union leaders and lobbyists continue to demand higher taxes on working families. These include potential taxes on families' cable bills, homeowners' heat bills, restaurant patrons' bar tabs,…

Media

Read More: Here’s How a Tax-Increasing Budget Destroys Jobs

Overspending, Not Undertaxing, Created PA Budget Deficit

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 11, 2017

Why does Pennsylvania have a state budget deficit? Simple: Overspending. If the state had grown spending by the rate of inflation and population growth over the last three years, the…

Media

Read More: Overspending, Not Undertaxing, Created PA Budget Deficit

State Budget

Lawmakers’ Choices: Higher Taxes or Real Reform

  • Nathan Benefield
  • July 5, 2017

Half the state budget is done: the spending list. The Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a general appropriations bill on Friday. But the other half—how to pay for it—remains. The…

Media

Read More: Lawmakers’ Choices: Higher Taxes or Real Reform

Regulation

What to Know about the Senate Budget

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 30, 2017

Late last night, the Senate unveiled its version of the spending side of a state budget. The Senate advanced the bill from the Appropriations Committee with a full floor vote…

Media

Read More: What to Know about the Senate Budget

State Budget

PA Budget: What the Constitution Mandates

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 28, 2017

As lawmakers debate the details of a new state budget, it’s crucial to remember what our state constitution requires them to do. The Pennsylvania Constitution does not require a…

Media

Read More: PA Budget: What the Constitution Mandates

State Budget

Stop Calling for Higher Taxes

  • Nathan Benefield
  • June 20, 2017

In comments at the Pennsylvania Press Club yesterday, Sen. Jay Costa addressed the state deficit and called for tax increases. Costa said, “A year from now, someone will be standing…

Media

Read More: Stop Calling for Higher Taxes