The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

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 […]

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 […]