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

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. 

In the past several months, 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 that context, 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. The industry and its allies also continue to claim that Pennsylvania’s impact fee amounts to a tax that is higher (relative to the volume or value of gas produced) than the severance taxes in many other states.

Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with the support of outside advocates, are moving to announce plan to borrow massively, perhaps up to more than $2 billion, from many of the 100 or so special funds that, along with the General Fund, are part of the state budget. Their justification for doing so is that, at the end of each year, many of these funds have a surplus. So it seems easy enough to shift those surpluses – money they are quick to say is “just sitting there not doing anything” – into the General Fund.

Forthcoming proposals by the House Republicans and the Commonwealth Foundation to balance the current year budget by raiding over $2 billion from other state funds is budget gimmickry on steroids, which does not solve the state’s structural deficit and makes it worse in future years. It will also undercut the purpose of many state funds and lead to a co-mingling of operating and capital funds, which is bad budget practice.

Monthly archive