Posts by marc stier

Make Believe Budgeting in Harrisburg

I’ve been doing political advocacy for over ten years and have been a teacher and writer about politics for a lot longer. I don’t surprise easily. But what I saw today at the press conference at which Senator Scott Wagner and the “Taxpayer’s Caucus” presented their three billion dollars in proposed budget cuts, left me almost speechless.

PBPC Research Prompts Senators to Introduce Tax Fairness Legislation

Something new and unusual happened in Harrisburg today. Senators Art Haywood, Vincent Hughes and Jay Costa put forward an idea that actually could help resolve the pressing fiscal cliff we face this year, and at the same time could make our tax system more progressive.

Despite partisan differences, three goals are more or less shared by everyone in Harrisburg. While their top priority may differ, for the most part, legislators all say they want:

1. to close the $1.8 billion structural deficit;

2. to spend more on education;

#NameTheCuts

It appears that some elements in the Republican Party of Pennsylvania have one and only one goal – to not raise taxes. 

It doesn’t matter if spending in our classrooms, and especially in the classrooms in our lowest income communities, have not recovered from the Corbett cuts of 2011-12; they won’t raise taxes.

It doesn’t matter if waiting lists for mental health and intellectual disability services grow; they won’t raise taxes.   

It doesn’t matter if tuition keeps rising for our colleges and universities. 

An Explanation of Our Infographic, “Especially for Poor Districts, Drastic Corbett Education Cuts Remain”

So what difference does a budget actually make? Why should we care that we wound up with the Republican budget for this year (HB 1801), rather than the bi-partisan budget agreed to in December 2015 (SB 1073), let alone the budget Governor Wolf proposed in March 2015?

Winners and Losers

Governor Wolf decided yesterday to allow the latest Republican budget to become law. We were hoping he would veto it.

No One Wants Leviathan

Listen to the extremist Republicans who are blocking a Pennsylvania budget deal and you might hear the echo of American revolutionaries standing up to King George.

The stakes seem to be beating back a Governor who seeks to drastically expand the size and scope of our state government.

Need some examples?

Governor Wolf's Minimum Wage Executive Order -- A Step in the Right Direction

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This week, Governor Tom Wolf announced that, through executive order, he would require Pennsylvania state workers under his jurisdiction and employees working on future state contracts to be paid at least $10.15 an hour.

How Low Will They Go?

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The majority of Pennsylvanians believe that every child in Pennsylvania deserves a high quality education. We believe that the best education for everyone is central to creating economic opportunity for individuals. And we believe that economic growth is only possible with a highly educated work force. And we know both of these aims can only be attained if we provide adequate and equitable funding to each of our schools.

Senator Corman's Budget Fantasy

The Independent Fiscal Office’s projection that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces a $1.8 billion structural deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is now beyond dispute. And we at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) believe that there are only two ways forward. One path leads to a relatively small tax increase that closes the deficit and restore funding for education and human services. The other path leads to devastating cuts in education and human services. 

Pennsylvania at the Crossroads

Pennsylvania is at a crossroads. We face a stark and profound choice between two different paths. The first path would build on the broad consensus about public policy that animated our politics for generations. That consensus, forged by both Democrats and Republicans, recognizes that without good public education, our kids won’t succeed and our economy will stall.  It accepts responsibility for taking care of the disabled, ill and aged who, through no fault of their own, need our help.