This is Not Normal

It is hard to look at politics in America without being afraid for our future. Everywhere we look, we see extremist movements that reject common standards of argument and evidence that are willing to say anything to advance their cause and that will not compromise even at the cost of creating a public disaster. 

On HB/SB 76 — Property Tax Elimination in PA

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As we point out in our previous post, some people believe that the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November would make it easier to enact some version of the property tax elimination proposal, HB /SB 76. We are not sure that this is true. But if it were true, we would certainly oppose the constitutional amendment because HB / SB 76 is possibly the worst policy proposal we’ve ever encountered. 

On Joint Resolution 1, the Constitutional Amendment on Property Taxes

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We are getting a lot of questions about what the constitutional amendment on the ballot this year means and where the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center stands on it.

We haven’t rushed to judgment on it for a couple of reasons. First, we are not convinced that this amendment will, by itself, have much impact on policy in the state. And second, given that any amendment to the Constitution is important, we wanted to make sure we understood all the implications of it before reaching a conclusion.

In Truth, The PA Budget Is Still Not Done

A quick take

If the governor signs the tax and fiscal code bills passed this week, or allows them to become law, a funding plan for the Pennsylvania Budget for 2017-2018 that technically allows for a balanced budget will be complete. But the work of the General Assembly is not finished because this funding plan not only fails to address the long-term budget problems faced by the state, it deepens those problems. The result will be that the fiscal year beginning in July 2018 will be in deficit and that, unless the state changes direction, those deficits will no doubt increase in subsequent years. (Click the title for more)

For PA and U.S. Manufacturing to Flourish, Policymakers Need to Be Beholden to Some Different Defunct Economists

This past Tuesday, Keystone Research Center co-sponsored “Manufacturing a Better Paying Pennsylvania” with the D.C.-based Century Foundation, the Steel Valley Authority, and others. The event laid out the case for the U.S. and Pennsylvania to implement comprehensive strategies for growing high-wage manufacturing. This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op ed lays out the basic argument.

STATEMENT: On Shale Tax and Cancelled House Session

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Marc Stier, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement on the decision by the House to cancel session days on October 23, 24, and 25:

"We at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center generally don't comment on when the House chooses to be in session. But the decision by Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed to cancel voting sessions next week—on October 23, 24, and 25—and to do so the day after the House Finance Committee approved a shale tax bill on a bi-partisan basis reeks of both chicanery and desperation.

Natural Gas Producers in PA Don't Pay Their Fair Share

In recent months -- and weeks -- Pennsylvania’s legislature has shown renewed interest in enacting a severance tax on natural gas extraction as part of the state’s overdue revenue package to fund the state budget. In response, the natural gas industry has maintained a steady drumbeat of communications claiming that Pennsylvania already has a tax on gas extraction because of its per well impact fee which does not rise with the volume or value of gas drilled.

STATEMENT: On State House Revenue Plan

Update noon, October 18: There is talk around the capitol that a shale tax will come out of the House Finance Committee today and coming to a vote on the House floor later this week. This legislation must be part of the budget this year. It is the difference between a budget that takes a step forward to address our long term budget problems and one that makes those problems worse.

STATEMENT: On President Trump's ACA-Killing Actions

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Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement in response to President Trump's recent announcements of actions that affect the Affordable Care Act:

"President Trump’s actions in the last two days put the health insurance of over 400,000 Pennsylvanians at risk. It will lead to an increase in health insurance premiums in the marketplaces of over 20%.

STATEMENT: On the Governor's Plan to Securitize PLCB Profits

Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement after the release of the Governor's plan to securitize PLCB profits.

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