State Budget and Taxes

No One Wants Leviathan

Listen to the extremist Republicans who are blocking a Pennsylvania budget deal and you might hear the echo of American revolutionaries standing up to King George.

The stakes seem to be beating back a Governor who seeks to drastically expand the size and scope of our state government.

Need some examples?

The Rising Fiscal Cost of the Budget Impasse

The Inquirer’s Joseph DiStefano reported last week that Standard and Poor’s is threatening to cut Pennsylvania’s credit rating due to the states failure to address the structural budget deficit. Ratings on debt issued by Pennsylvania have been downgraded five times in the last four years and every downgrade costs the commonwealth tens of millions of dollars on each billion dollars of borrowing.

Senator Corman's Budget Fantasy

The Independent Fiscal Office’s projection that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces a $1.8 billion structural deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is now beyond dispute. And we at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) believe that there are only two ways forward. One path leads to a relatively small tax increase that closes the deficit and restore funding for education and human services. The other path leads to devastating cuts in education and human services. 

Pennsylvania at the Crossroads

Pennsylvania is at a crossroads. We face a stark and profound choice between two different paths. The first path would build on the broad consensus about public policy that animated our politics for generations. That consensus, forged by both Democrats and Republicans, recognizes that without good public education, our kids won’t succeed and our economy will stall.  It accepts responsibility for taking care of the disabled, ill and aged who, through no fault of their own, need our help.

KRC/PBPC Insider News Special Blizzard Edition 1-23-16

Special blizzard edition ... yeah we’re snowed in, but we know you’re just watching your email for our weekly news so here it is, delivered despite the weather.

Senator from York Predicts a Recession

If you were getting bored by the never ending budget process, a flurry of colorful metaphors by “Fightin” Sen. Scott Wagner of York County added a more circus like element to the standoff. I just wanted to highlight an interesting argument in the Senator’s letter to Capitolwire about the current state of the economy. According to the Senator:

Gas Drillers New Year's Eve

On New Year’s Eve, Miss Smith walked out through the automatic sliding doors of the grocery store where she worked as a cashier and pulled her scarf to her nose as the December wind hit her face. Glad to be done with the last shift of 2015, she walked briskly toward her parents’ house where she had lived for the last three years.

Before she lost her job as an art teacher for the local school, she had her own apartment. But her salary at the grocery store was not enough to allow her to afford her own place after she made her student loan and car payments.

A New Year's Resolution for PA Lawmakers - Pass a Fiscally Responsible State Budget

It turns out we're not the only ones waiting for a responsible Pennsylvania state budget that actually raises the revenue the state needs to pay its debts -- and also to adequately fund education, infrastructure and human services. 

The rating agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P), is also waiting for a fiscally responsible budget.

Why conservatives can like Pennsylvania's personal income tax

Rumors of a sudden interest on the part of Republicans in raising the personal Income tax (PIT) instead of the sales tax to meet the revenue requirements of the budget framework have floated across 3rd Street to our offices at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. So I’m going to do something unusual for us—and frankly a bit uncomfortable—and give some conservative arguments for preferring the PIT over the sales tax. 

Backroom budget deal attempts to derail environmental regulations

The Pennsylvania Senate today passed the Fiscal Code, a must-pass piece of legislation that is part of the budget process. It contains provisions that would subvert Pennsylvania’s climate plan and gas drilling regulations and raid $12 million from the Alternative Energy Investment Act to create a new “Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund” providing more taxpayer help to an industry that still doesn’t pay a severance tax in Pennsylvania.

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