Posts by marc stier

Which Direction for America? What's at Stake in the Health Care Debate

One of the fascinating / distressing things about the health care debate on Facebook is that it's bringing the truth out in a way that the debate in the Senate is not.

If you have any doubt that this is a inflection point in our history, in which the forces of tolerance, compassion and justice are arrayed against the forces of bigotry, greed, and injustice, look at what the opponents of the ACA are saying.

Guest Blog Post from Kristen Dama: Why We Can't Go Back to Life Before the ACA

Kristen Dama is an attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. She works on human service issues. This moving story of what life was like before the ACA tells us why it is so important to save it. If you want to really help, contact Robin Stelly at robin@pahealthaccess.org and tell her you want to join a phone bank to help contact Senators who may be convinced to vote against the legislation that repeals the ACA and devastates Medicaid.

Guest Blog Post from Det Ansinn: Why Businesses Need the ACA

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Republican ideologues often talk about the burdens of the ACA business. So we thought it might be useful to hear from a real businessman about whether the ACA helps or hurts his business. Det Ansinn is a software engineer and entrepreneur who founded his software development company BrickSimple in 2002. It is based in Doylestown, PA, and has offices in three other states and employees over 50 people. BrickSimple creates innovative software for mobile applications.

A Severance Tax: The Basics

Pennsylvania has been considering a severance tax on natural gas for years. Here are four reasons it is long overdue: 

1. A severance tax can bring in substantial and, as natural gas prices rise, growing revenues to help close our budget and investment deficits now and in the future. Governor Wolf’s proposal is projected to bring in $349 million next year, $712 million in 2018-2019 and $1.15 billion a year by 2021-22. (These are net revenues after deducting a credit for the impact fee already paid by natural gas drillers.) Even a tax at slightly lower levels brings in over $200 million next year and close to a billion dollars a year 2021-2022.

What is the Fair Share Tax?

The main reason that Pennsylvania’s tax system is so upside down — with the top 1% paying only 4.3% of their income in taxes while the middle 20% pays 10% — is that the Pennsylvania Constitution prohibits us from enacting a graduated personal income tax. Sales and property taxes tend to take a higher percentage of the income of taxpayers at the bottom and in the middle than at the top. But graduated income taxes in many states — including all of our neighbors — compensate by taxing those at the top at a higher rate.

What Would an Adequate Pennsylvania Budget Look Like This Year?

What Would an Adequate Pennsylvania Budget Look Like This Year? 

A really good budget for Pennsylvania would begin addressing our long-term public investment deficit. It would provide new funds to: 

  • eliminate our worst-in-the-nation inequality in K-12 school funding; 
  • expand pre-K education to all three and four year-olds;
  • make higher education more accessable, especially to students from low-income families;
  • restore the funding that would allow the Department of Environment to better protect our air and water;
  • provide new funding to repair roads and bridges and support public transit.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Sam Brownback became governor of Kansas in 2010, just as Tom Corbett became governor of Pennsylvania. Brownback and Corbett, with the help of Republican majorities in their legislatures, embarked on an extremist Wizard of Oz economic agenda of cutting taxes, especially for large businesses, and reducing spending on education and human services. Spending as a share of the state’s economy dropped by 10% in our state.
 
Faced with slow economic growth, stark budget deficits, and citizens who were demanding better public services, a bi-partisan majority in the legislature in Kansas this week stood up for common sense against Wizard of Oz extremism and, over Brownback’s veto, rolled back many of those tax cuts.
 
Is this the year that state legislators in Pennsylvania also embrace common sense and reject extremism?
 

Pennsylvania's Budget Choices This Year

As we head into what everyone hopes will be the last month of the Pennsylvania budget season, this is a good moment to take stock of where we are and what’s at stake in the decisions the Governor and General Assembly will make this year.

Doing so will also explain why the Pennsylvania’s Choice campaign is urging people to attend a tele-town on the budget at 7:15 on June 1, a budget rally at noon on June 5 in Harrisburg, and lobbying days later in the month. (More information and registration for these events can be found here.)

It's Not Just a Number: PBPC Statement on the CBO Score of the AHCA

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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Republican health care plan, the ACHA, released today shows the danger of Congressional action in advance of a serious analysis of the impact of legislation. Though it was touted as a new and improved version of the bill that failed in March, the CBO analysis shows the bill that passed the House is no better, and in some ways, far worse. The CBO estimates that, at the end of ten years, 23 million fewer Americans will have health insurance because of the legislation, which is one million less than the estimate of their earlier bill.

The Trump Budget

President Trump’s budget is a triple betrayal — of his campaign promises, of working people in Pennsylvania and around the country, and of a uniquely-American economic order that has created the shared prosperity that America once enjoyed and should enjoy again.

The President is, first, betraying his promise not to cut Medicaid, Social Security, and the social safety net — that is, programs relied on by those left behind in a changing economy.