The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

Visionary Public Plan For State Parks Emerges; Can Bake Sales And Car Washes Pay For It?

Every state disagreement over issue priority, policy direction, and funding level has been compounded greatly by the monumental uncertainties of coronavirus.  Months of restrictions on institutions, businesses, and workers have punched a gigantic hole in the state budget, reported as upwards of $3 billion for the just completed fiscal year.  Advocates who for years have […]

Wolf Weaponizes Pennsylvania’s Bureaucracy

On a crystal clear May morning across the Susquehanna River from a gleaming state Capitol building a podium adorned with the seal of the Senate of Pennsylvania stood in front of a barber shop. State Senator Mike Regan kicked off a stout defense of the barber’s right to cut hair. He was followed by State […]

The Shutdown May Soon Collapse in Pennsylvania Thanks To Local Resistance

As in the rest of the country, life in Pennsylvania has been greatly disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos that has resulted from the state government’s attempts to handle the situation. On March 16, Governor Wolf ordered that all “nonessential” businesses be closed for at least two weeks. They are still closed today, and as a […]

So Many To Thank. . . Don’t Forget Local Government

   Pennsylvania Local Government Week is April 6-10, and we can think of no better time to recognize our townships, which are on the front lines of making sure life goes on as smoothly and safely as possible in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 emergency continues throughout the nation and the […]

Sunshine Week Promotes Open Government Year Round

Sunshine Week is celebrated in March.  Given declining civics instruction, duly note this observance does not mark the end of winter as predicted by various groundhogs.  Surely, it is overshadowed by St. Patrick’s Day.  As public interest observances go, it should be a red-letter date. The Sunshine Law guarantees our access to public meetings.  We […]

No Sure Bet: Student Scholarships Riding on Raiding Horse Money

Coming off several years of notorious lack of success at shackling a mounting pile of urgent infrastructure needs to imposing a severance tax on gas drilling, Governor Wolf is apparently undeterred.  Not only has he revved up Restore PA for another run, he is jumping into the same strategy pool again. His daily double for […]

Trusting Counties With Greater Financial Responsibility

  Pennsylvania’s longest-running tax dispute pertains to the heavy dependence on property taxes to fund public education.  Persistent public antipathy and active litigation make property taxes for schools the all-consuming controversy.  That does not mean other local tax systems are up to snuff and non-contentious. County commissioners are laying out their 2020 legislative agenda.  Due […]

Demeaning Sound Science Harms Public Policy And Education

  Sam Cooke’s 1960 hit song – What A Wonderful World – starts with a series of disclaimers, including these: “…Don’t know much biology; Don’t know much about a science book…Don’t know much trigonometry; Don’t know much about algebra…”  As has been proved billions of times, kindling romance does not require a science text or […]

Giving Rural Pennsylvania A Fair Chance For A Future

  “Life is unfair,” famously intoned by President Jimmy Carter (and others), is an indisputable proposition. These days, expressions of unfairness are on the rise.  In public debates of any gravity, someone invariably claims unfairness in framing their grievance.  Ubiquity by no means guarantees equal justification or attention.  Invoked too frequently and casually, it can […]

Making It A Beautiful Day In All Our Neighborhoods

  High on my list of favorite Christmas movies is Miracle on 34th Street (original version please).  In it is an all-purpose, every season piece of wisdom: “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.” Faith in institutions, secular and religious ones, is taking a shellacking these days.  Confidence-measuring polls of public mood […]