The Road Not Taken

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. Today we released the results of our examination of the experience of four states, as well as Pennsylvania, and the different roads they each took.

Wednesday’s tax vote – legislators’ golden opportunity to honor their words

Gov. Corbett’s first budget, passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, cut funding for education by nearly $860 million. Two-thirds of these cuts – $570 million – remain in place, an average of $330 per student. In school districts attended by a quarter of students in the state – districts with lower incomes and higher poverty than in the rest of the state – the cuts remaining in place are much higher, $832 per student.

Collapse or growth – what’s at stake in next Wednesday’s revenue vote

Pennsylvania does not bring in enough revenue through current taxes and other fees to support budgets that adequately fund education and programs that improve the lives of thousands of our fellow Pennsylvanians. That is the reality that is captured by the term “structural deficit.” It is the situation that has led Wall Street to downgrade the commonwealth’s credit-worthiness five times in the last three years.

Stopgap veto – Hard decision for the right reasons

Gov. Wolf made a hard and painful decision when he vetoed the stopgap funding for schools and human service agencies. It is obvious to everyone that non-profits that rely on state and federal funding to serve the needs of the elderly, the disabled, the hungry and the abused cannot operate on thin air and good intentions. They need to pay staff, buy supplies and keep the lights on just like any other business. If they can’t pay their staff or their bills, they have no choice but to cut back services or close down altogether.

Professional Wrestling and the Donald's Popularity

Our friend Charlie Bacas shared a link to "This French Philosopher is the Only One Who Can Explain the Trump Phenomenon." Semiotics is a bit of a stretch for an economist, and I'm not sure I entirely follow it. But it made me laugh. So maybe it will make you laugh.

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