The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

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 […]

The Public Interest Loses Again: A Discouraging Case Study In Subverting Open Government And Sanctioning Secrecy

Much has been written about the vengeful misdeeds that marred and ultimately short-circuited the tenure of former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane. For everyone appalled at her self-inflicted fall, it may be hard to believe another damaging blow to the public interest was delivered after Kane departed office. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the […]

Merit Selection Of Judges: A Better Method For Attaining Quality Courts

In the Winter Olympics, champions in a variety of sports are determined by how swiftly they race downhill.  Individual performances are amazingly fast, and the difference in winning can be a fraction of a second. In the competition to achieve victory on state government reform, the course runs in the opposite direction – steeply uphill.  […]

Biennial Budgeting Is Bipartisan Solution To Annual Impasses

May 23, 2016 – By Lt. Governor Mike Stack and State Senator Ryan Aument Biennial budgeting is bipartisan solution to annual impasses To the frustration of many Pennsylvanians, the 2015-16 state budget took almost nine months to complete. While this was the longest budget impasse in our commonwealth’s history, it certainly was not the first […]

Hospital Report Update 2017

Taking The Temperature Of Pennsylvania’s Hospitals & Healthsystems: Positive – Encouraging If Uneven Growth, And Negative – Troubling State Policy Trends Hospital Report Update 2017

Pennsylvania Should Hit the Brakes as the Supreme Court Stays EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On February 9, in an unprecedented and historic move, the Supreme Court of the United States stayed the keystone to President Obama’s climate legacy, the Clean Power Plan. The stay on the Clean Power Plan is in effect until legal challenges have been determined and halts the timeline on state plan submissions. Oral arguments before […]


Not many people have heard of Colwyn, Pa. It’s a tiny Philadelphia suburb of about 2,500 people that covers just 0.3 square miles. But this spring, it gained notoriety when it was declared “financially distressed” by the state. Local Philadelphia stations had already been airing chaotic council meetings, complete with screaming matches, swearing, and even […]

Going the Distance for Business Competitiveness

Rosie Ruiz won the Boston Marathon in 1980, shattering the fastest female time record and had hardly broken a sweat when she crossed the finish line. Ms. Ruiz was stripped of her title just eight days later when officials discovered she rode the subway to the finish line. Similarly, in the grueling marathon that has […]


Pennsylvania is charging ahead with regulations to implement the Obama Administration’s master plan to cool down a planet we are told is on the verge of boiling over. Twenty-seven states, three labor unions and 24 national associations have sued in federal court to block implementation of the “Clean Power Plan” (CPP). Not Pennsylvania. Nearly all […]

Judges and Political Campaigns Do Not Mix Well

May 13, 2016 By David Atkinson, Associate, Susquehanna Valley Center From a public policy perspective, raising the mandatory retirement age of Pennsylvania’s judges seems sensible. However, voters see it differently. Had the primary ballot question on the subject actually counted, it would probably have been rejected. Voters do not appear in the mood to give […]