State Revenue Sec. Dan Meuser Offers Perspective on Gov.’s 2013-14 Budget

Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser, the featured speaker at PEL’s May 10, 2013, Northeastern Issues Forum, discussed Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed 2013-2014 budget and other initiatives. Download Sec. Meuser’s presentation here.

Health Care Reform: An Overview of the Penalties, Pitfalls and Problems

Timothy J. Shrom, Ph.D., business manager for the Solanco School District, Lancaster County, provided an overview of Affordable Care Act provisions at PEL’s May 9, 2013, York Issues Forum. Dr. Shrom’s presentation focused on provisions that require employer awareness, attention and action, including “pay or play” penalties, 30+ hour employees and the excise tax. Download his presentation here.

Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer Outlines Agenda

Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer presented “Planning Beyond Recovery: The Mayor’s Vision and Strategic Plan for Reading” at the April 25 PEL Issues Forum. The plan outlined Mayor Spencer’s goals for safer and cleaner neighborhoods, economic development and job creation, sound fiscal management, open and transparent government and high quality of life. Download the presentation here.

Act 111 Reform Proposal

Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) offers legislation to reform Act 111, which provides binding arbitration to police and firefighters in exchange for prohibitions against strikes. The Coalition for Sustainable Communities, a group of Pennsylvania chambers of commerce, local government associations, and other business community and municipal leaders, believes binding arbitration awards contribute to escalating municipal costs that contribute to financial stress. Read the details here.

PEL Analysis Shows Economic and Fiscal Benefit to State with Medicaid Expansion

The Pennsylvania Economy League and the PA Health Funders Collaborative released a new report that shows expanding Medicaid to low-income Pennsylvanians as part of the Affordable Care Act would increase economic activity in the state and result in fiscal savings, despite state cost increases over time. Download the Economic and Fiscal Impact of Medicaid Expansion in Pennsylvania. Download the Executive Summary. Download the Press Release.

Rosy Assumptions Could Derail Pennsylvania Public Pension Reform Efforts

Buried in the debate about how to fix Pennsylvania’s myriad state and municipal pension problems is the concern that many, like Pittsburgh, are even more underfunded than reported because of overly optimistic rates of return. Pension boards often turn a blind eye to the issue because facing it would require contributing even more money to the systems at a time when fully funding plans already seems overwhelming. Download Rosy Assumptions Could Derail Pennsylvania’s Public Pension Reform Efforts to read more.

Perspectives on Pennsylvania’s Public Pension Woes

Gov. Tom Corbett recently announced proposals to fix escalating public pension costs. Pennsylvania Economy League members have consistently rated public pension reform as one of their top concerns. To provide additional insight on the issue, PEL offers information and views from Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord and from Richard C. Dreyfuss, a business consultant and actuary who has served as a PEL presenter and associate on pension issues.

Shrinking Police Departments Risky for Residents

In the wake of recent violence in Plymouth borough, citizens expressed dismay over the perceived lack of borough police resources and the resulting threat to public safety. Their concern should come as no surprise. The Pennsylvania Economy League sounded the warning as recently as 2010 concerning the evaporation of borough police forces in Luzerne County that places residents at higher risk. Download Shrinking Police Departments Risky for Residents here to read more.

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.

Easy Way for Towns to Save Big Money

Counties, boroughs, townships and school districts, many of which are scrambling to lower costs in the face of rising expenses to avoid tax increases or reduced services, can collectively save millions of dollars by exercising a once-in-four-year opportunity to change the method of pay for elected tax collectors. Download Easy Way for Towns to Save Big Money to read more.