How About Some Real Solutions to Problems that Do Exist?

With Governor Tom Corbett's first term approaching the halfway point, the editorial pages are settling in on a theme for their assessments of the administration's performance over the last year: not a lot of action on important issues.

Unaffordable Tax Cuts Drive State Funding Gap

Hundreds of millions of dollars in new business tax cuts enacted over the past two years are a major contributing factor to the gap between revenue and expenditures highlighted by Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby during his midyear budget briefing today. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center sums it up for you in the handy infographic below. You can also check out our statement on the midyear briefing here.

Listen to Main Street in Federal Tax Debate

You hear about small business quite a bit in the debate over extending federal tax cuts for upper income earners, even though the vast majority of small business owners do not benefit from those top tax cuts. Only 3% of taxpayers with business income above $250,000 would be impacted if tax cuts for top earners expired next year.

Morning Must Reads: Different Priorities For Different Senators

Proposals to avert the fiscal cliff shouldn't increase poverty or inequality or slow the economic recovery. Those simple common-sense principles appear to be gaining increasing visibility and support, which is the best news this morning.

Morning Must Reads: Corporate Tax Subsidies Run Amok and Fiscal Cliff Armageddon!

Dirty HippieI'm back, and that is completely unrelated to the fact that the blog in my absence featured people with bad wigs.

On Sunday, The New York Times launched the series The United States of Subsidies, which details the tax breaks and credits given out by state and local governments to businesses. Below you will find a link to the opening story, today's entry on Texas and finally a link to Pennsylvania data.

Third and State Recap: Ed Rendell at PBPC's 5th Anniversary, Promoting Renewable Energy in PA & Lottery Privatization

Over the past two weeks, we blogged about the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s 5th Anniversary, how Pennsylvania can be better positioned to capitalize on renewable energy, a proposal to privatize the state’s lottery and the October jobs numbers. Oh, and did we mention, former Governor Ed Rendell in a wig?


  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward reflected on five years of research and advocacy demystifying state budget and tax policies with the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Chris Lilienthal wrote that at the Center’s 5th Anniversary Luncheon on Friday, former Governor Ed Rendell had a little fun with Sharon when he debuted a new look (yes, a wig is involved).
  • On renewable energy, Stephen Herzenberg explained how Pennsylvania could position itself to be a national leader on wind and solar energy and what that could do for the commonwealth’s economy.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about the state’s October jobs report and why now would be a good time to invest in fixing infrastructure.
  • On privatization, Mark Price asked (tongue in cheek) what could go wrong with a plan to privatize the Pennsylvania lottery in light of news that the state received only one bid for the job.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a roundup of what awaits state and federal lawmakers in the coming weeks and in 2013.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Governor Ed Rendell in a Moe Wig. For Real.

Gov. Ed Rendell in a wigAt the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's 5th Anniversary luncheon today, former Governor Ed Rendell had a little fun at the expense of Director Sharon Ward. The Philadelphia Daily News' Chris Brennan sums it up nicely below. Click on the photo to the right for a larger view at PBPC's Facebook page.

Imagine...PA Chamber and Conservative Administration LEAD Major New PA Renewable Energy Policy

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“This package will send a strong signal to investors that the government is serious about providing firms with the certainty they need to invest in affordable, secure, low-carbon energy,” said Gene Barr, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the state's main business group, in a statement responding to a new measure that would increase the amount of electricity from renewable energy to 30% by 2020, up from 11% today,

OK, it wasn't actually Gene Barr. It was his British counterpart, John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, in a story last week about a strong new push for renewable energy by Britain's Conservative-led coalition government (the Liberal Party is the junior partner in Britiain's coalition government).

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center to Celebrate 5 Years of Making Facts Matter in Policy Debates

This Friday, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will mark five years of research and advocacy demystifying tax and budget policies, separating truth from myth, and ensuring policy debates are grounded in the facts. 

It's not too late to join the fun. Tickets are still available for PBPC's 5th Anniversary Luncheon this Friday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Sheraton.

The event will feature former Gov. Ed Rendell as a keynote speaker, recognize state Representatives Gene DiGirolamo and Thomas Murt for their efforts on behalf of low-income working families, and honor the legal team that won the court case halting enforcement of the state’s flawed Voter ID Law in the November election. More on the lineup of speakers here. 

Morning Must Reads: One Bidder? What Could Go Wrong?

The Keystone Research Center does not oppose the use of private contractors to provide services to federal, state and local governments as a matter of philosophy.

On pragmatic grounds, we DO support good governance, including carefully assessing the costs and benefits of privatization. Too often privatization is a goal in and of itself and good governance — careful weighing of pros and cons — isn't even in the vocabulary of privatization advocates.

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