State Budget and Taxes

PA House Moving Governor's Costly Corporate Tax Cut Plan

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the Governor's plan to enact hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts that come at the expense of investments in schools, colleges, human services, adult literacy and other critical areas.

Third and State This Week: A Call to Close Loopholes on Tax Day, Pensions and Latest PA Job Numbers

This week at Third and State, we marked Tax Day by blogging about where our tax dollars go and why Pennsylvania should close corporate tax loopholes. We also wrote about our analysis of the Governor's corporate tax cut plan, our latest Pension Primer, and the Pennsylvania job numbers for March. Plus, a radio podcast on the state of the American economy that featured Mark Price.


  • On Tax Day, Chris Lilienthal highlighted infographics and other resources showing you where your state and federal tax dollars go. Sharon Ward shared her Harrisburg Patriot-News op-ed calling on state lawmakers to close loopholes and get Pennsylvania's fiscal house in order before considering new tax cuts. Finally, Kate Atkins shared photos from a Tax Day event in Harrisburg where volunteers made a call to close loopholes.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about Governor Corbett's plan to cut corporate tax rates by 30% over a decade. Noticeably absent from the plan is any effort to close corporate tax loopholes that have drained resources from schools, universities, and county human services.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Governor Corbett's pension plan has a serious case of pension deficit disorder — if enacted, it will increase the state's pension debt by $5 billion between now and 2019..
  • On jobs and unemployment, Chris Lilienthal passed on a news report on the March job numbers for Pennsylvania. Mark Price shared a podcast of a Minnesota Public Radio show where he and journalist Heidi Moore discussed jobs and the state of the American economy.


  • The Keystone Research Center released the fourth installment in its Pension Primer series this week. You can read all the Pension Primers and Stephen Herzenberg's testimony before the Pennsylvania State House Government Committee at KRC's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's full analysis of the Governor's proposal to enact costly new business tax cuts in the years ahead.
  • Read PBPC's statement opposing House legislation that creates tax breaks to subsidize new markets for natural gas producers at the expense of schools and other priorities.


  • Join Steve Herzenberg of the Keystone Research Center on April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.


  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

Governor's Pension Plan Has Serious Case of 'Pension Deficit Disorder'

Governor Tom Corbett's plan to radically restructure public pensions will increase Pennsylvania's pension debt by nearly $5 billion between now and 2019. How does it worsen Pennsylvania's public pension debt? By lowering state and school district contributions to pensions during that time period.

Governor's Tax Plan Fails to Close Loopholes

Governor Tom Corbett is proposing a 30% cut to corporate income taxes in his 2013-14 budget plan, along with additional increases in tax write offs for large companies. When fully implemented, the new tax cuts will drain more than $800 million each year from the state budget. The Governor's plan would come on the heels of more than 10 years of business tax reductions that cost almost $3 billion in 2013, one-third of what the commonwealth will spend on Pre-K-12 education.

Net Annual Revenue Impact of Gov. Corbett's Tax Plan

On Tax Day, a Call to Close Loopholes

I joined several volunteers around lunchtime Monday outside the Harrisburg Post Office to talk to people heading to mail their tax returns about the need for real tax reform in Pennsylvania that includes closing loopholes and improving accountability.

Loopholes and special tax breaks shift the cost of public services to families and other businesses. This approach costs all of us. When companies don’t pay, the rest of us pay more in the form of higher property taxes, underfunded schools, mounting college tuition and a weakened economy.

On Monday, we gathered a number of signatures for a petition calling on state policymakers to close loopholes. Check out the slideshow with some of the highlights.

Why Pennsylvania Should Close Tax Loopholes

On Tax Day, I wanted to share my recent op-ed for on Governor Corbett's tax cut plan and the need for real tax reform in Pennsylvania.

On Tax Day, Understanding Where Our Tax Dollars Go

With the deadline upon us for filing state and federal tax returns, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has put together a resource web page to help you understand what your tax dollars support. We also highlight reports and educational materials on closing tax loopholes and improving overall tax fairness.

As the chart to the right shows, most of the federal budget supports defense, Social Security and major health programs. As federal policymakers and citizens weigh key decisions about revenues and expenditures, it is instructive to examine what the federal government does with the money it collects. The chart is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Public investments by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania educate our children, keep our communities safe, move people to work over roads and transit systems, and care for seniors, children and people with disabilities. More than 80 cents of every state General Fund dollar is spent on education, health and human services, or public safety. See the graphic below detailing General Fund spending in 2012-13.

Third and State This Week: Expanding Health Care Brings Jobs, Governor's Flawed Tax Plan & Tax Credits that Work

The week at Third and State, we blogged about a study showing the economic benefits of expanding Medicaid health coverage in Pennsylvania, the Governor's costly corporate tax cut plan, and two federal tax credits that work for Pennsylvania families.


  • On state taxes, Sharon Ward blogged that Governor Corbett's plan to cut the state's corporate net income tax over 10 years, at a cost of more than $800 million when fully phased in, would come at a time when the commonwealth is having difficulty meeting its current obligations.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a recent study commissioned by the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania finding that the federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage will inject at least $3.2 billion annually into the state’s economy and support 35,000 to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years.
  • On poverty, Chris Lilienthal shared an infographic showing how critical the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are to working families in Pennsylvania.
  • As Tax Day approaches, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) has posted infographics and resources on its web site to help you understand what your tax dollars support and how we can improve overall tax fairness.
  • PBPC Director Sharon Ward published an op-ed on on the need for true state tax reform that closes loopholes and improves accountability, rather than another round of corporate tax cuts.
  • PBPC hosted a webinar debunking tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

Governor's Corporate Tax Cut Plan Will Cost $800 Million

I am testifying before the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee today on Governor Tom Corbett's plan to cut the state's corporate net income tax rate by 30% over a decade. This tax cut, along with a number of other tax policy changes, will cost the commonwealth — conservatively — more than $800 million annually when fully phased in.

Webinar Debunks Myths Promoted by ALEC

PA Policy Perspectives: A Webinar SeriesThe American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, may have recently abandoned its advocacy of controversial Voter ID and Stand Your Ground laws in the face of public scrutiny — but it hasn’t stopped pushing for fiscal policies that benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

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