Posts by marc stier

Senate Bill Raises Marketplace and Employer-based Premiums for Most Pennsylvanians

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We have been focused recently on the impact of the Senate health care bill on Medicaid, mainly because the dangers of both the House and Senate bills to Medicaid have not been well known, and because the Senate bill is far worse than the House bill. 

So, in this and next post I want to remind you that if you purchase health insurance on the exchanges / marketplaces or receive it from your employer, the Senate bill is bad for you as well.

How Dumb Does Senator Toomey Think We Are?

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I’m not just a practitioner of political rhetoric, but also a connoisseur of it. I can appreciate a good argument and a well-turned phrase put forward by our ideological opponents. And, rather than get disturbed by what the other side says, I take their best work as a challenge. But what truly does get me angry is when our opponents not only lie, but do so with arguments that are insulting to the intelligence of the people we are trying to influence – the citizens of Pennsylvania and America.

State As Well As Federal Republicans Go After Medicaid

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At both the state and federal level, Republican Party leaders seem to be on the warpath against Medicaid. Thankfully, rank and file Republicans in both legislatures and the public seem to be pushing back against them, as long, bi-partisan support for Medicaid continues.

The Republicans Of My Youth Didn't Encourage Vice

Note: This is the second of two pieces on the Republicans of my youth..

Part II: Encouraging Vice

The Republicans of my youth were not only men of fiscal rectitude, they were men of moral rectitude. I can’t say what they did in private. I’m sure some of them drank from time to time and some drank too much. They probably also gambled from time to time either on a trip to Las Vegas or at the local trotter track, or maybe with a local bookie. But in public they frowned on these vices. They believed that people had a right to make their own choices, but they believed that government had a responsibility to direct people away from behavior that could be dangerous to themselves or others.

The Republicans of My Youth Didn't Borrow to Balance Budgets

First of two pieces of why I miss the Repbulicans of my yout. 

There are times when I miss the old-fashioned Republicans of my youth, in the small-town America in which I grew up, about 40 miles over the Pennsylvania border in rural New York. Those mostly Protestant Republicans were the bankers, the insurance agents, the ministers, as well as many of the older doctors and lawyers. They didn’t like taxes. But they believed in the common good – in schools and parks and good sidewalks. In roads and bridges, in water system and sewers.

First Look at the 2017-18 State Budget

While we will need some time to analyze the details of the budget that the House and Senate will pass today, our preliminary view is that it is, as we had expected from the beginning of the year, an austere budget that does not really address the deep public investment deficit of the state, but it certainly could have been far worse. Given that the General Assembly seems utterly unwilling to raise revenues to meet public needs, negotiations by the leaders of the legislature and Governor Wolf have led to a budget that still takes some small steps forward.

MEMO: Effects of U.S. Senate Health Care Bill on Pennsylvania

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MEMO

To: Interested Parties

From: Marc Stier, Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Date: June 28, 2017

Re: Effects of U.S. Senate Health Care Bill on Pennsylvania


The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will be releasing a number of briefs on the effects of the U.S. Senate health care bill in the next few days. You can see our initial statement in response to the CBO scoring of the bill here. Below is our first brief on the effects of the bill on Pennsylvania.

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

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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.

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: 

TALKING POINT #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.