State Budget and Taxes

State Education Funding Matters – A Tale of Two States (PA and NJ)

A new “big-data” base on U.S. school districts provides new evidence that Pennsylvania has many high-performing schools but many lower-income rural and urban districts that perform less well. A likely culprit: Pennsylvania’s inadequate state funding for schools. Low state school funding leaves moderate- and lower-income districts poorly funded and with less in total funding than affluent districts, even though the lower-income districts serve students with higher rates of poverty, non-English speaking families, and other challenges that hold back achievement.

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. 

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)

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 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.

No time for giving up

It appears that members of the General Assembly are moving towards a final plan for funding the budget they passed in June. We share the sense of relief that is gradually emanating from the Capitol—we, too, are tired of talking about the budget. But we also know that the urge to get something done can sometimes overcome the urge to get it done right. So now is the time for members to demand that this budget not just be finished but be finished right. That means two things.

Don't Let the Extremists Win

 There are lots of rumors about a budget deal flying around Harrisburg but few details and even less assurance that the deal will stick, that is, that votes will be found to approve in in the House and the Senate.

 What little we hear is concerning. And the best way to understand our concerns is to look again at why we have not reached a deal until this point—extremists control the Republican Party in the House.

The Budget Solution We Need

It appears that the Pennsylvania Senate is about to vote to not concur with the recently-passed House bill to fund this year’s budget. That will set the stage for what will certainly be intense negotiations among the four legislative caucuses and Governor Wolf about a compromise bill. We hope these negotiations will be completed quickly, as the state is already delaying payments to the pension funds and Medicaid managed care organizations and the state is getting very close to a credit down grade that will cost hundreds of millions over the next few years.

What the PA Credit Downgrade Means

The decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade Pennsylvania’s credit rating should come as no surprise. There was ample warning by S&P and other credit agencies, as well as by political observers including us at PBPC, that this would be the result of the continuing failure of Republicans in the General Assembly, and especially Speaker Turzai and his followers in the House, to raise sufficient recurring revenues to close state’s long-term structural deficit.
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