Posts by stephen herzenberg

What's It to Be on Property Tax Relief, PA Lawmakers? Reverse Robin Hood or Relief for Renters and Middle-Class Homeowners

This is an appeal to legislators in rural parts of Pennsylvania and in high-property tax areas such as the Poconos: we think that the evidence shows clearly that your constituents would benefit more from distributing the property tax relief promised by the tentative budget framework in a fair way, including a rebate for renters. There is a danger, however, that this relief will be distributed in an unfair way, without a renter rebate and with much tax relief going to businesses and high-income homeowners.

PA Liquor Control Board Transfer of Nearly $550 Million to State Coffers in 2014-15 No Fairy Tale

A new financial report for 2014-15 reveals that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is still a cash cow that delivers more than half a billion dollars annually to commonwealth coffers. Pennsylvania taxpayers and state legislators should remain wary of anyone offering magic beans for this cash cow – an exchange more likely to leave Pennsylvania’s finances in bleaker shape than to produce the payoff magic beans did in the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale.

Collapse or growth – what’s at stake in next Wednesday’s revenue vote

Pennsylvania does not bring in enough revenue through current taxes and other fees to support budgets that adequately fund education and programs that improve the lives of thousands of our fellow Pennsylvanians. That is the reality that is captured by the term “structural deficit.” It is the situation that has led Wall Street to downgrade the commonwealth’s credit-worthiness five times in the last three years.

Professional Wrestling and the Donald's Popularity

Our friend Charlie Bacas shared a link to "This French Philosopher is the Only One Who Can Explain the Trump Phenomenon." Semiotics is a bit of a stretch for an economist, and I'm not sure I entirely follow it. But it made me laugh. So maybe it will make you laugh.

Conservative Think Tank Confirms that PA Needs a Budget that Boosts State's Fiscal Condition

One sticking point in Pennsylvania's budget battle is whether the next state budget needs to improve the state's fiscal condition. Recent budgets reliant on one-time revenues contributed to the repeated downgrading of Pennsylvania's debt. The Wolf administration estimates that the Republican budget proposal vetoed by the Governor would increase the state structural deficit to over $3 billion by 2016-17.