The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

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 […]

A Letter to America: United Kingdom Independence Day from the EU

  The endorsement by the EU of the UK Withdrawal Agreement is the final step enabling the UK to return to being a sovereign state and a free agent on the world stage, this happened on the 29th January 2020. For 47 years, the UK has seen a European Economic Zone the EEC, similarly based […]

United Way Pursues Productive Partnerships; Say Hello To ALICE

Maybe there has never been a true golden age for running non-profit organizations and charitable groups.  This is certainly not the best of times, with aggressive pushes to cut back on government spending and programs at every level, to impose higher standards of performance, to apply more rigorous tests of accountability, to tighten spending on […]

Plugging Into Modern Medicine Requires Legislative Signoff

Trailing only education, health care resembles an endless philosophical and political war, with sharp, persistent disagreements over direction and policy.  The list of disputed matters includes but is not limited to: the merits of public versus private insurance coverage, the fairness of provider networks, the utility of health care subsidies, the considerable costs of technology […]

Closing State Facilities: Saving Money But Sacrificing Trust

Since Neil Sedaka released “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” in 1962, the song has been covered multiple times.  The tune might be experiencing resurgence as the unofficial anthem of the Wolf administration.   There are heated controversies in several Pennsylvania communities over suddenly announced plans to close state facilities.  Luzerne County is facing a double […]