Publications

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center produces a variety of reports, policy briefs, and other publications on state budget and tax policy, health care policy, education policy, poverty and public welfare, the economy, and several related issues. Below is an archive of all PBPC publications to date.

Browse by Issue: You can also browse PBPC publications by the following issue areas:

Tax and Budget     |     Education     |     Health and Family Security     |     PA Economy     |     Democracy

The Republican who have again introduced legislation to create “work requirements” for recipients of Medicaid and SNAP (also known as Food Stamps) may well be motivated in part by their desire to encourage more Pennsylvanian’s to hold jobs. But their punitive and bureaucratic proposal will not do enough to help people work and may well actually make it harder for them to do so. At the same time, it will make it harder for people who deserve health care and food assistance to secure it while not saving our state much money. And at the same time, they proposals will damage the health care industry and raising insurance premiums for all of us.

The General Assembly has begun working on the budget for 2018-19 based on Governor Wolf’s budget proposal. So, this is a good time to look at the governor’s proposals in light of the recent history of funding for education in our state.

Governor Wolf’s budget would finally restore (in nominal dollars) the deep cuts to K-12 classroom funding made by Governor Corbett in 2011-12, which is a noteworthy accomplishment. However, inadequate funding and deep inequities still remain in our school funding system. Also, Governor Wolf continues to prioritize early education funding. His proposal this year, if enacted, would nearly double Pre-K funding since 2014-15. A signature focus of Governor Wolf this year is a substantial investment in Career and Technical Education and workforce development, with the aim of providing high school and post-secondary youth with critical STEM and other technical skills that can lead to good paying jobs.

While the details are different, the basic theme of our analysis of the governor’s budget proposal this year is essentially unchanged from last year and the year before. Once again, Governor Wolf has presented another austere budget that, within the political limits of Harrisburg, makes progress on issues critical to Pennsylvanians. But because of those political limits – and through no fault of the governor – it does not make fast enough progress.

Last year, Mayor Jim Kenney boldly called for the School Reform Commission (SRC) to be disbanded and for control over our schools to be returned to the city. In doing so, he took on the responsibility to pay for schools at a time when growing deficits are expected over the next five years. 

We at PBPC have long argued that the education of Philadelphians shouldn't be a responsibility of the city alone. Not just Philadelphia but the entire commonwealth suffers because the state share of education funding has fallen from almost 50% to less than 35% of total funding.  

Gov. Tom Wolf presented his 2018-19 State Budget Proposal on February 6th, 2018.  The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will be posting analysis, infographics and related documents on this page as they become available. Check back often for the latest updates.

Three recent briefs by the Keystone Research Center laid out the case for more affordable access to post-secondary education in Pennsylvania.  The global race for raising incomes and increasing opportunity hinges critically on access to post-secondary education and training. If Pennsylvania does not expand access to higher education to more of its citizens, the Commonwealth’s economy will suffer and living standards will lag behind growth elsewhere. With a modest and smart investment, Pennsylvania can build a more prosperous future for its citizens and reinvigorate the American Dream in every corner of the keystone state. “The Pennsylvania Promise,” outlined below, shows how.

Marc Stier, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement on the passage of the U.S. Senate GOP tax bill: 

"Budgets are, it is frequently said, moral documents. If that is true, and we believe it is, then the tax plan adopted by the Senate today represents an extreme moral failure on the part of the Republican Party. At a time when incomes are becoming ever more unequal, the Republican tax plan will ultimately make the rich richer and the poor and middle class poorer. It will benefit corporations at the expense of families. And, because of the repeal of the individual mandate, it will cost 13 million people nationwide — and 500,000 in Pennsylvania — health insurance leading to 1000 to 2000 premature deaths in our state alone. 

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