PBPC's History

Since 2007, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) has played a key role in Harrisburg demystifying tax and budget policies, separating truth from myth, and ensuring policy debates are grounded in the facts. Through credible research and advocacy, the Center promotes policies that allow working people to move out of poverty and into the middle class. 

Throughout the Great Recession, PBPC staff work with elected officials and advocates to demonstrate the value of public investments in education, public health, and other building blocks of a strong economy and to promote a balanced approach to budget shortfalls.

Every day PBPC documents the cost of cuts to services for those who can least afford it and shines a spotlight on tax cuts and loopholes that have made Pennsylvania’s tax system among the most regressive in the nation. Because every Pennsylvanian really has “skin in the game,” PBPC has made the case for a progressive tax system and for services that allow every Pennsylvanian to live with dignity and achieve his or her potential. 

PBPC has carefully scrutinized the economic claims of the large energy companies exploiting Pennsylvania’s natural gas reserves and pressed for a drilling tax to ensure companies, not taxpayers, bear the cost of environmental and social damage. With environmental and good government groups, the Center formed the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission, which documented the environmental and social impacts of drilling and pressed the General Assembly to slow the pace of shale development.

PBPC has advanced health policies that work for Pennsylvania families, promoting the Prescription for Pennsylvania in 2007 to provide affordable insurance to hundreds of thousands and rein in insurance company abuses. The Center fought to preserve the adultBasic program, took on opponents to health care reform, and helped lay the foundation for the Affordable Care Act.

PBPC has also joined the voter ID debate, documenting its cost to the state budget and showing that the state’s needlessly rushed implementation of this law risked disenfranchising thousands of voters — a concern shared by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

PBPC was formed to be a resource to legislators, the media, and the public on important budget, tax, and related policy issues. It is a project of the Keystone Research Center and part of the national State Fiscal Analysis Initiative coordinated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.