Legislative Memos and Testimony

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

Last week petitioners in Pennsylvania's school funding lawsuit filed a brief and affidavits refuting the claim made by the Republican leader of the PA Senate, Joe Scarnati, that the lawsuit was rendered moot because the state adopted a school funding formula in 2016. KRC Labor Economist Mark Price was one of the partners who filed an affidvit about the growing funding gaps between low- and high-wealth districts. 

 

The redistricting process created by Senator Mike Folmer’s version of SB 22 passed by the Senate State Government Committee last week does initially look like a move toward nonpartisan redistricting, and for that reason some reform groups have said it is a step forward. But while we at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center support the goal of a nonpartisan system of drawing Congressional and state legislative districts lines, the process that would be put in place by the Folmer plan is so far from desirable that we urge the full Senate to reject it and start over. The Folmer proposal is worse than the process we have now in four important respects.

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.

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, thirty-three organizations, including the Pennsylvania Budget and Polivy Center, sent a memo to Governor Tom Wolf and the members of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania with recommendations for the 2016-17 state budget. The groups call for completion of 2015-16 budget, and a 2016-17 budget that raises additional revenue to close the structural deficit and make necessary investments in vital programs.

The ideas in this document were compiled by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center based on our own work and that of our partner, the Keystone Research Center, and that of advocates on many issues. The names of our partners are in our letter to the Governor and the members of the General Assembly.

In a democracy, public policy is ideally made after extensive public deliberation and debate. Deals made in private and announced at the last minute make it impossible for citizens to understand and evaluate the actions of their legislators or for advocates to mobilize citizen opinion on the critical issues of the day. Unfortunately, the last few days have given us two striking examples of the failure to live up to this fundamental democratic norm.

Organizations, representing advocates for education, combating hunger, the business, manufacturing, legal and banking communities, religious institutions and clergy, school districts and administrators, among many others, sent a letter to all state Senators, stating their opposition to Senate Bill 76.

One critical value that should guide tax policy in our view is “revenue adequacy” – having enough revenue to invest in essential public goods, starting with education, and in services critical to quality of life for middle‐ and low‐income families.

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