Pennsylvania is perfectly situated to become the economic powerhouse of the northeast, with roughly 1/3 of our nation’s population within a 24-hour drive. Coupled with our proud heritage of a strong work ethic, there is no reason for Pennsylvania to be at the bottom of the country in job growth and economic output. But we have been, and for too long. This needs to finally end.
Fixing Pennsylvania’s economy starts with easing one of the most punishing tax and regulatory burdens in the country, because we are chasing businesses away from our state. As a business owner, Scott knows firsthand the hurt that overregulation and over-taxation puts on employers and forces them to close shop or move to a state with a better business climate.
We must also put more money in the pockets of Pennsylvanians to invest in themselves and our economy. We do this by breaking Pennsylvania’s notorious 45-year streak of tax increases on everything from personal income and sales to gas and digital downloads.
Harrisburg does not have a revenue problem, it has a SPENDING problem. Revenue growth has far outpaced population and inflation, which is a clear indicator that Harrisburg is addicted to raising your taxes and spending your money. We need to pass a Taxpayers Bill of Rights that puts strict limits on Harrisburg’s powers to tax and spend.
The pension crisis a critical threat to our state’s fiscal health. The credit downgrades that are plaguing Pennsylvania will continue until we fix this problem like other states have. We must place all new state and school district employees into a defined-contribution plan to preserve the solvency of the pension fund. Current employees will not see any change in their earned pension benefits.
For too long, Harrisburg has funded the pet programs of politicians and their politically-connected allies, rather than focusing on programs that work for Pennsylvanians. We must begin utilizing zero-based budgeting, which forces agencies to justify every dollar that they wish to spend and ensures that tax dollars are being spent on what works rather than what the politicians want to use for sound bites.
Pennsylvania’s Constitution ensures that all of our children will receive a “thorough and efficient” education. For too long, Harrisburg has failed to deliver on that promise. We must ensure that our children are receiving the best education available because today’s children are tomorrow’s adults.
Parents deserve the right to choose the school that their child attends, and to have their hard-earned tax dollars follow their child.
We must bring accountability to all schools that are receiving public money. This means developing a system that accurately compares schools no matter if they are traditional public schools, charter schools, or cyber charter schools. We need to duplicate those things that are working and eliminate the things that are not.
We must ensure that are our teachers are given an environment in which they can thrive. This means ensuring that good teachers are rewarded and given opportunities to grow, and that teachers that fail to meet the high standard that the vocation requires are removed from the system.
We must ensure that school districts are given the ability to control costs by eliminating unnecessary unfunded mandates.
We can’t fix the state’s problems until we fix state government. Pennsylvania is home to the most expensive, wasteful and lavish legislature in the country. Instead of having a system that encourages citizen legislators, we have a system that has bred a generation of career politicians. It shouldn’t be profitable to go into public service. In order to restore the public’s trust we need to reform the system so the elected officials are working for taxpayers, not themselves.
It starts with abolishing lawmakers’ per diems, pensions and lifetime health insurance plans. Scott Wagner leads by example by rejecting these lavish perks and will seek to make sure others now follow suit. Then we need to limit to 12 years the total time someone can spend in one body in the legislature in order to break this culture of careerism, which leads to corruption in most cases.