Senior Vice President
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.”
Flawed Arguments Drive School Funding Suit
As I pointed out earlier this week, Pennsylvania public school spending is at an all-time high. In fact, the state's per student spending is significantly above the national average. James’ analysis…
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Facts about the State Share of School Funding
Should the Pennsylvania Supreme Court order the Legislature to give billions more dollars to school districts? That's what a recent lawsuit demands. But to make their case to the public, the lawsuit's advocates…
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Faculty Benefits Driving Up Tuition Costs
APSCUF—the union representing faculty at state-owned universities—has begun a vote to authorize a strike. One of APSCUF's complaints with the proposed contract is higher health care expenses. In…
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Education Choice Benefits All
Private school choice programs benefit students, public schools, and taxpayers, according to new report from EdChoice. The report, the fourth edition of A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on…
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Wolf Legally Required to Reduce Spending
Gov. Wolf has a legal responsibility to reduce spending and fix a legislative mistake. Unless the legislature passes a revenue bill today—which seems unlikely—the state budget is unbalanced. Lawmakers sent…
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Back to the Future: Budget Edition
Doc Brown showed up at Commonwealth Foundation headquarters in his DeLorean yesterday with a stern warning about the future. “I just returned from 2017! You’ve got to come back with…
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‘Spend-first, Tax-later’ is Flawed Budgeting
As it stands, this budget leaves families trapped in a game of tax roulette—praying their taxes don’t go up this year. Next year, let’s hope taxpayers don’t have to choose…
CommentaryRead More: ‘Spend-first, Tax-later’ is Flawed Budgeting
What’s in the Senate Budget?
Earlier today the state Senate passed an amended version of a House budget proposal, which included the largest spending increase in a decade. The House must now agree to the Senate's changes before sending…
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What Is in the House Budget?
Last night, the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee advanced a $31.6 billion general fund budget. This budget is now lined up for a final vote in the House. Here is…
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Which Taxes Might be Going Up?
Less than one week remains before the state budget deadline, and details are slowly emerging about a $31.5 billion spending plan. This $1.5 billion spending increase would be the largest spending…
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According to a new Watchdog.org analysis, Pennsylvania leads in the nation in collections from “sin taxes.” The commonwealth collects more than $2.7 billion annually in taxes on tobacco, alcohol or…
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Taxes & Economy
Pennsylvania’s Economy is Falling Further Behind
Pennsylvania's economy isn't looking so hot this summer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports: Pennsylvania lost 23,600 jobs in the last two months (nonfarm, payroll jobs). Over the same…
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Tax Hikes Coming Soon?
The latest budget rumors indicate legislative leadership and Gov. Wolf are negotiating a budget that would spend at least $31.5 billion and upwards of $32 billion. To put these spending…
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A Superhero President? Dream On
Note: This commentary appeared in the Lancaster LNP, among other news outlets. If the thought of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the Oval Office frightens you, you’re not…
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Shell Cracker Plant Proves Taxes Matter to Job Creators
Workers hit by the natural gas slump in western PA received some much needed good news this week. Shell announced they will proceed with building a multibillion dollar chemical…
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Sound Ideas Transcend Party Labels
When Jane Janeczek, a lifelong Democrat and daughter of former Democratic governor George Leader, was elected Commonwealth Foundation board chair, some wondered how she came to embrace our policy solutions.
MediaRead More: Sound Ideas Transcend Party Labels
New Plan Doesn’t Protect Taxpayers from Pension Politics
Today, the House State Government Committee passed a pension reform bill featuring an unproven “stacked hybrid” plan. This proposal falls short of the pension reform taxpayers needs to protect…
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Liquor Liberty Loophole for DNC
As Pennsylvania residents and visitors know quite well, our state's liquor laws are outdated. Pennsylvania remains one of only two states where the government completely controls the sale of wine and…
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Gov. Wolf Threatens Veto, Denying Schools Flexibility they Want
Yesterday, James wrote about the passage of HB 805—legislation that would protect excellent teachers by using performance, not seniority, as the primary factor in furlough decisions. You can view the…
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Time to End Corporate Welfare Handouts
Conservatives loathe government handouts. Liberals denounce special favors to corporations. One thing can unify these two sides: ending Pennsylvania’s budget-busting corporate welfare handouts.
CommentaryRead More: Time to End Corporate Welfare Handouts
How Ridesharing Helps the Poor and Disabled
Earlier this week, I used Uber to get a ride in downtown Philadelphia. Curious, I asked my driver how long he’d been driving for Uber. “Two years,” he told me,…
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