Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Left-Leaning Groups Offer Tax Policy Suggestions

Feb 19, 2015
Courtesy Photo/ Better Choices for Pennsylvania

The Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition released a set of 19 tax recommendations Wednesday aimed at making the state’s tax system “fairer,” according to Mike Wood, Research Director of the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a member organization of the coalition.

Creating a viable state budget depends heavily on knowing how much money will be available to spend. According to a recent report by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Pennsylvania’s annual revenue estimate is one of the least accurate among the 50 states.

The report evaluated states by identifying five “best practices” that supposedly create reliable revenue estimates to guide state spending. PA scored a two out of five, and ranked below 38 states.

Policy and research groups from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio have joined forces to urge their states’ governors to adopt a common severance tax rate for companies drilling for gas and oil in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.

As Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to debate a transportation funding plan, the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is recommending a plan that would fund road, bridge and transit projects through a mix of cash and debt financing.

“With a combination of cash that’s raised through a number of vehicles (fees) and responsible borrowing, that will reduce the up-front cost but better reflect the fact that these are long-term investments that will have a long use over many years,” said PBPC Director Sharon Ward.

An education funding advocacy group says it has polling data that shows Pennsylvanians place public education high on their priority list and would not mind paying higher income or sales taxes to better support school.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commissioned the Lake Researcher Partners poll.

The poll found that 56 percent of all respondents have a favorable opinion of public schools, and 48 percent said they were very concerned about funding for the schools.