The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

Boosting Open Government With A Sunshine Commission

Pennsylvania has a very good Sunshine Law. Admittedly, such a statement might seem suspect to taxpayers, who regularly uncover secretive actions taken and decisions made by their public officials that appear contrary to the spirit and letter of the law. But carefully examine individual controversies, and most difficulties arise from faulty interpretations and minimal enforcement […]

Deciding The Future Of Our State-Owned Universities

When Pennsylvania assets and advantages are assayed, our abundance of colleges and universities is high on the list.  Private and public institutions, located in big cities, sprawling suburbs, and small communities, are highly slotted in numerous qualitative rankings.  Naturally, when the future of an institution or a group of institutions seems in jeopardy, a lot […]

Pennsylvania Budgeting Will Work Better Every Two Years

The state budget process in Harrisburg is broken and must be reformed. We are now in the midst of my seventh state budget since I first arrived at the State Capitol as a House member in 2011.  Not only has it been difficult to meet the June 30th statutory deadline each year, but state political leaders […]

Colonial Williamsburg’s Shaky Finances Are A Reflection Of Americans’ Knowledge Of History

  Learn more about those people that made history in Pennsylvania! Be sure to watch episodes of The Susquehanna Valley Center’s television program – Rediscovering Pennsylvania’s Historymakers on this website and on PCN!    When I was in the second grade our class studied the history of the 50 states.  Each of us was assigned a state […]

Pennsylvania Again Near the Bottom in Competitiveness Ranking as Other States Widen Gap

What’s going on with the Tresco Paving Company, an open shop contractor in Westmoreland County, is sadly emblematic of a culture in Pennsylvania that has us languishing near the bottom in an annual economic competitiveness ranking, Rich States, Poor States, by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Westmoreland County froze Tresco out of two paving projects by […]

Avoiding The Disruption Of State Budget Crises

The first round Stanley Cup playoff series between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs saw five of the six games decided in overtime.  For hockey fans, this is excitement plus. Overtime is a lot less appealing to Pennsylvania’s citizens, however, when the game is the serious business of approving the state budget.  Anxiety […]

Healthier Hospitals Provide Substantial Economic Boost

When Governor Tom Wolf announced in January that two state prisons would close, community reaction was remarkably agitated.  Local officials, community groups, and prison workers mounted a full-court press, presenting the advantages of keeping prisons open.   Defenders portrayed grim consequences for short-straw communities suffering a facility closure. Meanwhile, across Pennsylvania, more than a few health […]

Lending a Helping Hand

A Guest Opinion by David M. Sanko Executive Director, Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors Note: This is in recognition of Pennsylvania Local Government Week, April 10-14. Watch PSATS Executive Director David Sanko discuss the issues presented here on Behind the Headlines.      Whether you live in a township that’s large or small, it takes a […]

Is Pennsylvania Changing All The Right Players To Bring About Reform?

Pay any attention to Pennsylvania politics, and you quickly figure out that reform is perennially sought and infrequently delivered. Just about every candidate seeking elected office touts a commitment to reform, typically promising to root out waste, fraud, and abuse. Newly added to the debate is the more dramatic pledge, draining the swamp. For many […]

Want To Eliminate Property Taxes? Why Not Let Taxpayers Decide?

For fifty years, serious proposals to reform, reduce, or eliminate property taxes have been paraded through the state Capitol. Variant in approach and details, these plans have one thing in common: None has come into being. This frustrating experience reinforces a hard truth – it is nearly impossible to make politics and finances square up […]