Are PA Schools Really Flush?

Recent publicity has called attention to the billions in reserve funds accumulated by Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, 67 vocational/technical schools and 176 charter schools. Are school districts hoarding funds that could be used to avoid tax increases or program cuts? Are cries that more state aid is needed an exaggeration? Read Explaining School Fund Balances: Are PA Schools, with $4.3 billion in Reserve Funds, Really Flush? Just the (Dry) Facts by David Davare, Pennsylvania Economy League Central’s Director of Research.

The Quiet Boom and Potential Bust of PA Townships

Recent data indicated that the once booming Pennsylvania townships are seeing troubling signs including rising service costs and tax revenue that is either declining or flattening. The challenge for townships may soon be the same issue facing distressed cities: how to provide quality services at a price that taxpayers can afford.

Read PEL’s latest commentary The Quiet Boom and Potential Bust of PA Townships

The Scranton Times Looks at the Public Pension Problem

The Scranton Times takes an insightful look at municipal pension problems in a recent series that included interviews with PEL Executive Director Gerald Cross.

Click on the links below to read the series:

Newspaper’s investigation finds municipal pension plans underfunded

Moosic taxpayers haunted by 2007 decision to double pension benefits

Clarks Summit police chief earns more $113G between his salary and Carbondale pension

Carbondale boosts pension perks to get three cops to retire

Program lets public employees work while amassing additional retirement nest egg

Newton Twp. police chief boosts pension amid lax oversight

Scranton’s pension plans on fast road to ruin

Experts mixed on borrowing to shore up pension funds

Pension funds can be fixed, but cost will be high

In Lackawanna, not all plans are doing badly

Beyond Act 47: A Call to Action

Reforms to Act 47 will not prevent the circumstances that are causing more and more municipalities to experience fiscal problems that endanger service delivery. Pennsylvania needs options that will better enable communities to provide regional services. Read about the problem and one possible solution in Beyond Act 47: A Call to Action!

Broken in the Box: A Case for Local Government Reform in Pennsylvania

Like an eagerly awaited gift that turns out to be in pieces when the wrapping is torn away, Pennsylvania’s inadequate method of raising revenue for local government services is broken in the box. The result: Many municipalities are either teetering at the edge of a fiscal cliff as they struggle to pay for a comprehensive range of services for their residents or they remain in the black by shortchanging citizens on vital but costly services that boost quality of life. Download Broken in the Box: A Case for Local Government Reform here.