State Budget and Taxes

STATEMENT: On the State of PA Budget Negotiations

Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement on the current state of PA budget negotiations:
 
"If news reports are accurate, enough members of the House Republican caucus heard the voices of their constituents who contacted them in the last 24 hours to demand new recurring revenues to balance the budget in a responsible way.

Drillers Are Right – PA Needs Tax Rate on Gas Like Other States: It’s Time for a Severance Tax

In its recent letter to Speaker Mike Turzai, the Marcellus Shale Coalition points (in paragraph three) to the effective tax rate (ETR) on production as a key indicator of whether Pennsylvania should enact a severance tax in addition to the per-well impact fee we already have.

OK, let’s look at that ETR using Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) estimates of the ETR for 2011-16 and IFO estimates of prices and production to project the ETR (using IFO’s method) in 2017 and 2018.*

Public Investment and Economic Growth: Even the Commonwealth Foundation Gets It (Sometimes)

A strange post a few days ago by Elizabeth Stelle of The Commonwealth Foundation seeks to undermine the case for a severance tax on natural gas drilling, but inadvertently explains exactly why we need new recurring revenues in the state.

Stelle first repeats once again — without evidence — the same tired argument that natural gas drillers “pay more in taxes and regulatory costs than producers in competing states.” Not once has anyone at the Commonwealth Foundation quantified those regulatory costs or attempted to respond to a series of papers put out by PBPC, including this most recent one, that show that natural gas drillers are not paying much, if anything, in corporate income taxes to Pennsylvania and are paying far less in taxes (and fees) here than in other states.

Speaker Turzai: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

The Pennsylvania Budget for Fiscal 2017-2018 is still not finished. Pennsylvanians deserve to know why and who is responsible. The answer is the House Republican Caucus led by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, who refuses to accept any plan for funding the budget already passed by the General Assembly that includes new, recurring revenue — that is revenue that is generated year after year. 

Are the Republicans Ready to Gut Higher Education to Avoid a Severance Tax on Natural Gas Drilling?

As we enter the third week of an impasse over funding the 2017-2018 Pennsylvania state budget, an astonishing possibility has come into view: the House Republicans, led by Speaker Mike and Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed, appear to be prepared to block funding for the four state-related universities – Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University – rather than agree to the Governor’s demand that they raise $600 to $800 million in new recurring revenues.

PA House GOP Stealth Attack on Medicaid

**UPDATE 7/11/17 - 4:45 PM** The House passed the bill through to the Senate 102-91. The Senate must again vote on the bill as amended

PA House Republican leaders are trying to force Pennsylvania to seek federal waivers for our Medicaid program that would establish requirements that Medicaid recipients either be working or searching for a job and that that ask them to pay premiums or higher co-pays for their insurance. 

These ideas were part of Governor Corbett’s plan to expand Medicaid, which Governor Wolf rightly rejected.

MEMO: Revenue Options to Finish the 2017-18 Budget

MEMO

To: Editorial Page Editors, Editorial Board Members, Columnists, and Other Interested Parties

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

Date: July 10, 2017

Re: Revenue Options to Finish the 2017-18 Budget

S&P to PA: Snap Out of It

Remember when, in the movie Moonstruck, the character played by Nicholas Cage tells the character played by Cher that he loves her. And she slaps him in the face and says, “Snap out of it?”

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.

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