Reports & Briefing Papers

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

Pennsylvania must brace itself for a substantial decrease in federal Medicaid payments that would devastate our state budget and cause massive losses in Medicaid coverage as the Senate moves to pass a version of the House’s American Health Care Act. Under the leadership of Pennsylvania’s own junior senator, Pat Toomey, that version of the bill has significantly deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House bill. 

The 14 four-year universities within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education have been a pivotal engine of upward mobility for working families in Pennsylvania for decades. Today, the role of these schools in making the American Dream a reality for a hundred thousand Pennsylvanians each generation is threatened. Deep cuts in state funding coupled with living expenses on campus that have risen faster than tuition are threatening to put State System schools beyond the financial reach of many moderate-income families. 

As a group, the 14 schools that make up Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (hereafter the State System) are among Pennsylvania’s great working-class colleges. Forty-one percent of State System students from 1999 to 2004 (far enough back that we can analyze how these students fare economically as adults in their thirties) came from families with incomes (pre-tax income at the household level) in the bottom 60% of households, those earning less than $73,500 a year (in 2015 dollars). By comparison, just 18% of the students from Pennsylvania’s 10 most elite private colleges during this period came from bottom 60% families. 

Far from providing relief for working families, recent proposals to eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania would increase taxes on the middle class while sabotaging the chance to adequately fund Pennsylvania schools for middle- and low-income families.

This report provides the first estimates of the impact of property tax elimination proposals on families in Pennsylvania. Echoing recent debates about U.S. health care policy, our findings demonstrate that, in the case of proposed property tax elimination in Pennsylvania, the devil is in the details.

Despite Pennsylvania’s structural deficit and Governor Wolf’s proposal to cut tax credits by $100 million in 2017-18, lawmakers are currently considering expanding by 44%, or $55 million, two programs that already provide $125 million in taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend religious or other private schools. As well as diverting additional revenues from the General Fund without a revenue source in sight, this expansion is problematic because of a complete lack of financial and educational accountability within the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program and the part of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program that funds taxpayer-funded vouchers. Two of many issues with these voucher programs, revealed in this report, are the extent to which curricula at schools attended by taxpayer-subsidized scholarships teach creationism and present the bible as literal truth in history and other subjects; and the extent to which tax-credit dollars, while marketed as serving low-income students in low-performing school districts, subsidize exclusive private schools catering mostly to the very affluent.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA or Obamacare) is one of the most important pieces of domestic legislation enacted since the 1960s. It has had a dramatic impact in reshaping the provision of health care in the United States at a time when health care amounts to 18% of the United States economy. 

 

This report aims to quantify the benefits of the ACA to Pennsylvanians, in part by showing just how costly repeal of it will be.


The State of Pennsylvania desperately needs new, recurring revenues, both to overcome a serious structural deficit that may lead to devastating budget cuts and to restore and enhance public education, human services and environmental protection. 

 

Monthly archive