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

With ongoing negotiations over the state budget focused on property tax cuts, and the State Senate taking up a bill to eliminate property taxes, this briefing paper compares property tax elimination with two more targeted approaches that would reduce, but not eliminate property taxes: the Republican proposal that passed the Pennsylvania House in May (House Bill 504) and Gov. Wolf’s original proposal from March.

We find that property tax elimination would raise taxes on the middle class to give wealthy homeowners and businesses in wealthy communities a tax break. Both targeted approaches would be better for the middle class, but the Wolf proposal would be the best for moderate-income homeowners and would also cut non-residential property taxes the most in lower-income communities, a potential boost to community revitalization.

Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders are currently negotiating over the terms of a plan to cut property taxes which would be financed by an increase in the state sales tax rate from 6% to 7.25%. This brief analyzes the size of the sales tax rate increase by income. It also compares that impact to how much different income groups would pay with an increase in the state personal income tax rate from 3.07% to 3.57%, as proposed by Gov. Wolf in October and rejected by the Republican legislative majority and nine Western Pennsylvania Democrats.

Over the past few years, many other states, similar to Pennsylvania in 2011 and again today, have faced critical choices about whether to raise state revenues, hold firm to “no new taxes” or even cut taxes further. We examine the experience of four other states as well as Pennsylvania. Two of the other states – California and Minnesota – raised taxes to improve their fiscal health and to reinvest in education. The other two states – Kansas and Wisconsin – followed the same path as Pennsylvania under Gov. Corbett, cutting taxes in varying degrees and cutting education spending.

This brief looks at the different ways property tax relief can be structured in Pennsylvania and why for lower- and middle-income homeowners, homestead relief provides more bang for the buck than millage rate cuts.

 

Responding to overwhelming public support for enacting a severance tax on natural gas production, Governor Wolf and several members of the General Assembly have released severance tax proposals in 2015. Actual production results from 2014 show that these plans would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for schools, health care, environmental protection, and other critical needs.

January 26, 2015

Our national report released by the Economic Analysis Research Network (EARN) and the Economic Policy Institute presents updated estimates of top incomes from 1917 to 2012 for all 50 U.S. states and multi-state regions. (See the national report at http://goo.gl/AnFnMt). This brief expands on the Pennsylvania findings of the national report and presents updates by county and metropolitan area on trends in the share of income earned by the top 1 percent in 1978 and 2012.

 

Monthly archive