Time for PA to Depart Amtrak’s Withering Western Rail

In the upcoming fiscal year, the federal government has requested that Pennsylvania pay several million dollars annually to account for reductions in federal rail subsidies. The Corbett administration has successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar annual payment to preserve Amtrak service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Now, the legislature has the final say over western PA’s passenger rail service as lawmakers discuss transportation-funding packages. With an overabundance of infrastructure needs, tax dollars should not be wasted on a fledgling rail line when there are better travel route alternatives.  Continue reading

Coalition Seeks Tax Break for Big Oil in Budget

It appears that Pennsylvania will have its budget passed on time without any tax increases for the second consecutive year. The Governor and lawmakers agreed on a spending framework and are now negotiating specific line items.

As a part of a budget deal, some Democratic and Republican policymakers are advocating for a plan set to award Shell Oil a prolonged tax credit in exchange for the construction of a natural gas cracker plant in Western Pennsylvania. Proponents argue that the Shell Plant will bolster the state economy by creating thousands of jobs. However, in reality, Pennsylvania has a long history with targeted tax credits and little to show for it.
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State Store System a Failure

Letter to the Editor: Lancaster New Era Newspaper

Union President Wendell Young IV wants the public to believe that government-run state liquor stores are working. Young asserts that the government monopoly represents a cash cow for state coffers. He argues that liquor privatization will cease to generate revenues for the treasury.
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ObamaCare: The Wrong Prescription for Pennsylvania

March 23rd marked the second anniversary of President Obama’s signing of his signature healthcare bill into law. The administration’s celebration lethargic celebration was largely overshadowed by the pending Supreme Court decision on the act’s constitutionality. The controversial law has only exacerbated uncertainty in the weak economy. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi infamously stated, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Now that two years have passed and thousands of pages of regulations have been written, independent policy analysts at the Congressional Budget Office assert that ObamaCare is nothing more than a series of broken promises wrongly suited for both America and Pennsylvania.

In an attempt to sell his plan to the American people, President Obama promised citizens that were satisfied with their current healthcare coverage that they would be able to keep their plan. Unfortunately, the CBO has estimated that a staggering 20 million Americans will lose their employer-provided coverage as a direct result of ObamaCare. This disheartening reality will betray millions of Americans as the President’s centerpiece for reform ensured that employer-converage would remain intact.

Additionally, President Obama pledged to make healthcare more affordable by lowering family premiums by as much as $2,500. In contrast to the proposed savings, CBO calculations project that family premiums will actually increase by more than $2,100 by the year 2016. An Annals of Family Medicine study determined that costs will continue to rise. In the year 2021, the average family’s premiums are projected to equal half of their median household income. This unsustainable trend is expected to continue to the point where insurance costs will exceed family incomes by 2033.

ObamaCare represents a government takeover of the healthcare system and the implications for Pennsylvanians are alarming to say the least. Reports indicate that in less than one decade, more than 800,000 Keystone residents will be added to Medicaid. A staggering one out of four Pennsylvanians will be enrolled into this government insurance program. Medicaid currently consumes more than 30 percent of the entire state’s operating budget. In a national comparison, this represents the second largest share of any state. The influx of nearly a million extra enrollees will only accelerate the rapidly rising public welfare spending and will undoubtedly impose further hardships on the state budget. In exchange for the lavish price tag, Pennsylvanian will expand a government insurance program which is notorious for providing less than adequate healthcare services.

The ObamaCare debacle is only beginning to take its toll on the American people. Two years after its enactment, it is becoming abundantly clear that President Obama’s promises were nothing more than hopeful rhetoric. Americans are now faced with many uncertainties. Employer coverage is anticipated to drop by the tends of millions while healthcare costs are projected to steadily rise. As a result, state government are burdened by a massive expansion in Medicaid. This does not even take into account the half a billion dollars in taxes or the individual mandate current before the Supreme Court. The justices must acknowledge ObamaCare’s assault on the Constitution, which enables government’s ability to regulate inactivity. Constitutional or not, it is absolutely essential that the government’s takeover of healthcare is repealed so that Americans can move forward with market reforms and competition.