The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

Revamping The Redistricting Process Might Be Progress, But No Guarantee Of Greater Pennsylvania Influence In Congress

In the late 1970s, when Pennsylvania still had a comparatively healthy complement of 25 congressmen, a statewide magazine sized up the capabilities of the men then serving.  The judgment was not equivocal.  For anyone believing that era represented some sort of political golden age, the report delivered the disillusioning evaluation: “Pennsylvania’s Dismal Congressional Delegation.”  This […]

To Better Protect Children, Outrage Must Bring Effective Action

  Pennsylvanians spend a great deal of time railing against real and conjectured faults of state government.  Yet, the relentless criticism often overlooks some of the most harmful deficiencies in performance.  Documentation of the saddest sort confirms this is certainly the case in regard to the flaws and overburdens afflicting the child protection system. Twenty […]

Citizen Interests Could Be Well-Served By A Statewide Media Source

  Freedom of the press is one of the bedrock, defining, and indispensable rights in our democracy.  Every year when media awards are handed out, Pennsylvanians are reminded there is a lot of top-shelf journalism practiced daily in communities large and small across our sixty-seven counties.  There are good reasons to be proud of our […]

In Defense Of General Education: Still Relevant And Necessary

Warning signs spread across our national landscape like invasive species.  The sharp decline in the sense of community.  The increasing unwillingness of many individuals to concede gray areas in public policy matters.  The prevalence of ad hominem attacks substituting for informed and civil discourse.  These troubling trends compound abundant worries over the challenges facing our […]

Federal Tax Complexity Makes Pennsylvania’s Flat Rate Income Tax Look More Appealing

  Complaining about taxes is part of our birthright and DNA.  What is subject to taxation, what the tax rates are set at, and what the money is supposedly squandered on are all matters of considerable contention through the years.  Pennsylvanians were prominent in the protests that sparked the American Revolution.  Independence did not quell […]

Have Governor Pick Lieutenant Governor, Plus Give #2 More To Do

Have Governor Pick Lieutenant Governor, Plus Give #2 More To Do By David A. Atkinson When states are compared on policy issues and financial matters, Pennsylvania rarely ranks high.  However, our state is counted among the league leaders in political peculiarities.  Certainly that list includes choosing governors and lieutenant governors separately in the primary election, […]

Elevating Judicial Elections By Removing Political Party Control

When I came to Harrisburg as an intern, a statewide judicial race was underway.  In those comparatively horse-and-buggy days, high-priced consultants were not making a living off judicial races, and party help was mostly ministerial.  Judicial races ranked low on the party scorecard, making party dollars scarce.  The Republican candidate dutifully brought yard signs and […]

Want To Limit School Strikes?  Try Subtracting From School Contract Negotiations The Battles Over Health Care Coverage For Teachers

  A new school year typically launches with optimism and enthusiasm.  Regrettably, those good feelings are substantially tempered in school districts experiencing labor strife.  And in those where hard feelings over past standoffs still fester. Education is a high stakes undertaking, with many interests invested financially and emotionally.  It is no surprise that a disruption […]

Drain State Reserve Funds? More Than Desperation For Dollars Involved

  For many Pennsylvanians, this year’s state budget standoff has a dreary and depressing sameness to it.  That is reflected in editorials and letters to the editor, which are timeless in their sentiments of frustration and disgust. But as veteran politicians and commentators know, no two budget deadlocks are exactly the same.  This year the […]

A Constitutional Convention Is In Order

Ever since the ill-fated pay raise of 2005 angered citizens and energized reform groups across Pennsylvania, interest has brewed in a constitutional convention.  In recent weeks a fresh push has materialized, spearheaded by Representative Stephen Bloom and Senator John Eichelberger. Given the fracturing of viewpoints and the rising intensity of divisiveness within our state, it […]