PBPC on the PA Budget: This Is NOT a Budget for the People

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2022 Contact: Kirstin Snow, snow@pennbpc.org To: Members of the PA General Assembly, State Legislative Staff, Political reporters, Editorial Board Writers, and Columnists From: Marc Stier, Director, PA Budget and Policy Center Statement on Proposed Budget: PA Budget & Policy Center – This is NOT a budget for the people The new Pennsylvania Budget is a deep disappointment for Pennsylvania. At a time when the state is flush with cash, the Republican-led General Assembly has failed to meet the immediate needs of the vast majority of Pennsylvanians or invest enough in our future. Yet the budget does include an unnecessary and costly long-term cut in corporate taxes causing a one-year loss of $250 million in revenue in the current fiscal year will grow, to $2.25 billion per year at the end of eight years. Yet the state will still not ask wealthy, multinational corporations to pay… Continue reading

New PBPC Poll on Taxing Corporations and the Ultra-Rich and the Minimum Wage

PBPC commissioned Data for Progress to do a poll of likely voters on a limited number of issues that are at play in the current budget negotiations. The polling memo is below. Three things to note. First, there is overwhelming support (73%) for putting the minimum wage on a path to $15 per hour over four years and thereafter having a yearly cost of living increase (77%). Second, there is overwhelming opposition to cutting corporate taxes. Seventy percent of voters prefer tax increases for billionaires and corporations; only 25% want to see them cut. More than 78% of likely voters want to see the Delaware loophole closed so that multinational corporations can no longer hide their Pennsylvania profits from our Corporate Net Income Tax. And when asked whether some of the $12 billion accumulated state surplus should be devoted to cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy, only 2% said… Continue reading

Statement on Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade Decision

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2022 Contacts: Kirstin Snow, snow@pennbpc.org   Statement on Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade Decision By Marc Stier, Director, PA Budget & Policy Center The right to abortion is paramount to the right to personal autonomy. There is no choice as life-defining as that of whether to bring a child into the world. Without the right to have an abortion and access to the procedure, pregnant people are denied the autonomy and freedom to make decisions about their own health, well-being, and the course of their lives. Banning abortion would limit the rights of half the population: women, transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people, undermining their ability to be full participants in our political, social, economic, and cultural life. And the radical opinion signed by six justices of the Supreme Court not only undermines the right to abortion but is a threat to other kinds of… Continue reading

This budget we have the chance to move Pa. forward. We can’t miss it

Originally published by the PA Capital-Star on June 16, 2022 For more than a decade, the Republican majority in the General Assembly has called for austerity. And it appears that a huge state budget surplus — without counting one-time American Rescue Plan funds — of more than $5 billion isn’t stopping them from doing so again. So, the question Pennsylvanians need to ask themselves is this: If not now, when? The results of a decade of austerity are easy to see. We are not a poor state. Our economy ranks sixth in the nation in total gross domestic product. And yet: We rank in the bottom seven states for support for higher education. We rank in the bottom seven in state funding of K-12 education and thus have the most inequitably funded schools in the country. We are falling behind neighboring states in the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds in pre-K… Continue reading

Pennsylvania’s Financial Outlook Just Got Better Again—It’s Time to Help Pennsylvania Families

Pennsylvania’s financial outlook for 2022/23 just got better. In March 2022, state revenues came in higher than expected as they have in nearly every month this fiscal year. Several months ago, we calculated that the state would have an estimated surplus of $10.7 billion at the end of 2021/22. Our revised estimate, after the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s March report, is that Pennsylvania will have a surplus of between $11.2 billion and $12 billion by the end of June 2022. Fiscal year collections to date for 2021-22 total $2.7 billion, or 8.5% above estimates. If in the last quarter of this fiscal year, revenues come in according to the estimates of last June, the state budget surplus will be $2.7 billion greater than projected at the start of the fiscal year. If, however, revenues continue to come in at the rate of 8.5% above projections (and April is a big… Continue reading

STATEMENT: On PA Supreme Court’s Congressional Maps Decision

For Immediate Release February 23, 2022 Contact: Kirstin Snow Statement of PA Budget and Policy Center on PA Supreme Court Decision on Congressional Maps by Marc Stier There are two critical requirements of a congressional redistricting plan: it does not favor one party or another, and it allows shifts in voters’ choices to be reflected in who is elected to Congress. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s choice of a congressional map meets both standards. In a state with a small Democratic edge in registration, seven of the 17 districts lean Democratic, while six lean Republican. And four districts—1, 7, 8, and 17—are competitive. If voters in the state tilt toward the Democrats, Democrats are likely to hold a majority of the Pennsylvania seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. If the voters tilt Republican, Republicans are likely to do so. In addition to allowing shifts in political opinion to change the… Continue reading

The GOP Design

“When people show you who they are, believe them.” It’s time to believe what Pennsylvania Republicans have shown us they are. Begin with what they have shown us they don’t care about: Public health: They have opposed efforts to encourage—not mandate–people to wear masks and be vaccinated. They have not funded programs to make COVID tests available to all of us. Relief from the burdens of the pandemic: Despite having huge sums of our tax money in the bank, they have provided insufficient housing assistance that was distributed unfairly. They have provided too little relief to small businesses and blocked a proposal to help the restaurant industry. Unlike other states, Pennsylvania has not used ARP money to provide paid family and medical leave or support for those with low incomes. Wages: Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 for 14 years, keeps falling farther and farther behind neighboring… Continue reading

The Ten Worst PA Legislative Initiatives of 2021

The year coming to an end will go down as among the worst in the long history of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. At a time when so many Pennsylvanians are struggling to keep body and soul together against the continuing threat of COVID-19 and the economic difficulties created by the pandemic, the Republican-dominated General Assembly has embarrassed itself and our state. It has done nothing to help Pennsylvanians with health and economic problems. It has passed legislation—vetoed by the governor—that would have led to more COVID-19 deaths. And instead of dealing with the real problems of the people of the state, it has spent most of the year advancing constitutional amendments and legislation that would undermine our representative democracy and carrying out unnecessary “investigations” in support of the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election—the same one that elected every member of the House and half of the Senate. There… Continue reading